Preservation of Newark’s Jewish roots

Preservation of Newark’s Jewish roots

Johanna Ginsberg’s Reporter’s Notebook “Newark’s Jewish roots becoming history” (Aug. 3) suggested that there is no effort being made to keep Newark’s Jewish history relevant to those who once lived, worked, and called Newark home. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

She completely dismissed the efforts of the Jewish Historical Society (JHS), whose traveling exhibits “Born at the Beth,” “One More Night at Elving’s Metropolitan Yiddish Theater,” “Weequahic Memoirs: Celebrating Newark’s Jewish Neighborhood,” and the recent “Meet me under the Bamberger Clock” — now on loan to the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark — have been seen not only by thousands of MetroWest residents, but also by Newark’s public school students as part of the city’s 350th anniversary. These are only a few of JHS’s traveling exhibits that promote the history of Jewish life in Newark. And let’s not forget the exhibit “Synagogues of Newark” on view at the Alex Aidekman Jewish Community Campus in Whippany through Aug. 15. 

Our archives have been built by former Newark residents. Individuals whose roots are in Newark continue to send us their private family collections; 400 individuals from across the United States sent us their baby pictures for inclusion in “Born at the Beth.” The response to our Weequahic exhibit was so overwhelming that the JHS created a separate “Greater Weequahic Collection” as we continue to receive items from the city’s former residents. 

Among those who used our archives for their research was Rutgers Newark’s Dr. Clement Price and Newark Public Library’s Charles F. Cummings. Both were considered to be Newark’s premier historians. They knew we would go to great lengths to locate the information they wanted and when we didn’t have what they needed, we knew who did.  

Simply put, NJJN’s readers can be assured that if it is up to the JHS, the history of Jewish life in Newark will not be lost.  

Linda Forgosh
Executive director and curator
Jewish Historical Society of NJ

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