Dear Friend —

As we resume our public forums and exhibits in the year ahead, your generosity helps us maintain our invaluable archives, reach new members of our community, and share the rich history of Greater MetroWest. We’re excited for the year ahead and look forward to seeing each of you at our community gatherings.

Committee Chair Report from Robert G. Rose
The Society is completing its first year in transition as a department of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ after more than 30 years as an independent agency. That change, in the midst of Covid no less, has been a challenge.

However, with the assistance of Federation’s staff and the support of President David Saginaw, the Society continues to strengthen its mission to enhance Jewish identity, pride, and continuity by understanding who we are and where we came from.

In May we held our annual Lasting Impressions Gala via Zoom, at which the Society honored Robert Kuchner for his many years of service and support of our community and beyond. Linda Forgosh, who retired from the Society at the end of 2021, was honored as the Society’s Executive Director Emerita. Thank you to all who donated to this event in their honor (view the ad journal here). The funds raised by this event go directly to support the Society’s budget.

Our Society archivist, Jill Hershorin, is in the midst of transitioning the listings and descriptions of our archival collections onto a new web program which will make them more accessible to both professional and lay users. She was also instrumental in helping to launch the LifeCycle project to ensure that significant events in the personal lives of members of our community are preserved for the future. Searches of The New Jersey Jewish News, which the Society has digitized on a word searchable basis, continue to reach record levels with more than 6,000 hits in the month of May.

Looking ahead, the Society intends to resume its successful series of public programs. We will also be working as part of the Federation Centennial team, providing materials from our archives in support of this major milestone anniversary.

Finally, we’re pleased to welcome four new committee members to the Society: Shari Brandt, Erica Needle, Laura Dorf Queller, and Rob Steinbaum.

Notes from the Stacks from Jill Hershorin
Here at the JHS of Greater MetroWest, we pride ourselves on great customer service. If we're unable to find the information a researcher is looking for, we provide suggested resources for them. Here are a few of the interesting requests we’ve recently received. 
  • Someone called looking for a family member who grew up in the Jewish Children's Home. She was grateful when we were able to find information and an article about her great aunt.
  • A French production company will be making a documentary about Newark. We provided them with footage of Newark from the 1930s to the 1970s. 
  • A few members of Congregation Beth El of the Oranges came to the archives in person (the first since the start of Covid) to find materials for their 75th anniversary event. 
  • The Newark Museum of Art wants to collaborate with Federation. We discussed focusing on the rich historical and art contributions of the Jewish community to the city of Newark and to American culture. We partnered with them as they hosted the first in a series of speaking events titled “Newark 101” which featured Linda Forgosh speaking on Louis Bamberger’s legacy.   
  • Recent JHS exhibits on display in the Federation building included: Celebrating Women's History Month: Spotlight on Sara Blum; Honoring Black History Month; Celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month: Highlighting the influence of Jews in Jazz; Banned Books; and Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month.
Membership Report
During the fiscal year 2021-2022, as JHS transitioned from an independent agency to a department of Federation, we had 250 members, raising a total of $21,000 in membership fees. All funds raised through membership went directly to support the work of JHS. 

As we look ahead to 2022-2023, engaging new members, staying connected with our current members, and raising funds through membership remain a critical component of the JHS budget. Recognizing that membership to JHS should have its privileges, those who are members at $180 or more will have the opportunity to participate in designated programming.

Please continue to share the important work of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater MetroWest with your personal network. Thank you for your support.

Historical Society Donor Shows Her Photo of Anne Frank’s Sister
Carol Berman, 96, shared a special photo of Margot Frank, the older sister of Anne Frank, with JHS. When Ms. Berman’s family and the Frank family were living in Frankfurt, all the girls played together. Read more in NJJN
Researchers Return in Person to Historical Society
For the first time in more than two years, JHS has opened its doors to researchers. Claire Nierenberg and Adena Traub visited the JHS offices to research materials from the Congregation Beth El of Oranges’ collection for its 75th anniversary.  Read more in NJJN
Historian Warren Grover’s Collection Is Digitized
The Jewish Historical Society of Greater MetroWest has digitized Warren Grover’s papers. The Warren Grover Collection features the research materials he used in his landmark publication, “Nazis in Newark.”  Read more in NJJN
Celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month
In May we celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month. It was challenging to determine which items to select to represent the great achievements and cultural highlights within the Jewish community of Greater MetroWest for our display. Read blog
Beyond the Bake Sale – Women's Role in the Federation
At the end of the 19th century, American Jewish women inaugurated an era of unprecedented community involvement. They persevered to help serve the needs of the Jewish community both home and abroad. Read blog
The Reb and the Rev
In 1961, the civil rights movement was picking up momentum... Temple Sha’arey Shalom of Springfield’s first full-time rabbi, Israel “Sy” Dresner – a 32-year-old who already had an impressive history of activism and speaking up against racism, met Dr. King. Read blog

Laura Cochrane, an art history professor at Middle Tennessee State University, came to our office to research the architecture and decoration of B'nai Jeshurun synagogue in Newark. Our archives have information in both the B’nai Jeshurun and Solomon Foster Collections that are related to the 1913 building. Ms. Cochrane noted, “It was so amazing to find such great information while I was at the archives. This has reinvigorated my research.”

This JHSNJ newsletter is funded by a generous donation from the Klein/Fien Philanthropic Funds which enables the Society to publish its bi-annual newsletters. The fund is managed by Judie Fien-Helfman and Mark Fien, the children of the Society’s founders, Ruth and Jerome Fien. Please consider making a donation to support JHS today.
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