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Historical society seeks funds to digitize entire NJJN archive
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Historical society seeks funds to digitize entire NJJN archive

The Jewish News began publishing on Jan. 3, 1947. For nearly 70 years, until Sept. 22, 2016, it was published by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ (or, in years past, by the federation’s predecessors). It was and still remains the newspaper of record for our Jewish community.

Its pages have chronicled the social, personal, and business developments of the community, from birth, b’nei mitzvah, engagement, and wedding announcements and obituaries to announcements of social and professional promotions, anniversaries, and milestone events. 

To read the advertising displayed in the pages of the paper, reaching back over 70 years, is to review the history of business and commerce in our community. 

Over the decades, the paper’s roster of outstanding reporters has brought to the readership news of events and developments that have shaped and informed the community. 

Publishing a paper for a Jewish community, with its many disparate views on both religious and secular issues, can be a challenge to even the best thinkers and writers. In its later years, readers of what is now NJJN were fortunate to have had the late David Twersky and, more recently, Andrew Silow-Carroll, as its editor-in-chief. Gabe Kahn is now at the paper’s helm. Together, with a number of accomplished columnists over the years, the paper has written of the many challenging religious, social, and political issues our community has faced in a rapidly changing world.

Yet this incredible history of our community is not easily accessible. The Jewish News is today maintained and preserved in the archives of JHS of New Jersey, in its offices on the Aidekman campus in Whippany. Most of the paper’s issues are in bound volumes; others are on microfilm. To ensure the survival of this great body of work and make it immediately available to the community requires a 21st-century approach to its preservation.

The answer is the electronic digitization of the paper in a format that would create a word-searchable database, and then to post it on the JHS website, where it will be instantly available to the world. Such a program would serve to promote our Jewish identity and continuity by not only preserving our communal history but making it immediately accessible to all online. 

The digitization of the paper and its posting on the JHS website is estimated to cost $60,000. To make this happen, JHS needs your financial support. We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation directed to this project. For further information, contact JHS executive director Linda Forgosh at 973-929-2994 or  lforgosh@jfedgmw.org.

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