Tribute to one of JHSUM’s Founders

Read about Idell Silberman, one of JHSUM’s founders.



Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives

Click here to read some great articles on the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish archives. While you’re there be sure and subscribe to their blog so you get the latest news.


Archives Alive Fall 2010

Dear Friends:

I am leaving the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and beginning a new position as Project Archivist for the “Harvesting Minnesota’s Agricultural History” project based at University Archives at the University of Minnesota. The project entails processing 57 separate historic collections generated by departments and faculty in the University’s College of Agriculture. It is a huge collection: over 2000 cubic feet of materials. Over the next 12 months, I’ll be heading a team of people inventorying, arranging, describing and re-boxing these materials to make them available to researchers.

This position is a natural progression from the work I have been doing at JHSUM. Working first with Linda and then following her in 2008, I have been provided with countless opportunities to learn about and engage with the collection. I have answered reference questions, helped select exhibit content and design, and marshaled our materials for hundreds of scholars, authors, Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and even a couple of nationally recognized production companies. I’ve had a hand in shaping JHSUM collections through the acquisition of papers from Shir Tikvah Congregation, Rabbis Moses Sachs and Stacy Offner and the George Kaplan Foundation. Processing these collections reinforced my love of working with document collections and connecting people to resources that add meaning to their life experience.

Several projects found their way to JHSUM during the last two years that have expanded JHSUM’s profile and allowed us to be better known by people interested in Jewish Minnesota content. The Steinfeldt Photo Collection is up on the Minnesota Digital Library and Flickr, and virtual tours of Jewish Minnesota will be available on Placeography in October. A new and improved version of the JHSUM database will be available for searching in October also, along with easy access to the finding aids for our larger collections. You can be proud of the work that the staff and volunteers have done to keep moving the collections out to a broader audience on the Web.

Personally, working at JHSUM has been a great gift. I have learned so much about my Minneapolis and Minnesota world working here. I see deeper into my South Side neighborhood knowing about the histories of Temple Israel and the “old Adath.” I never travel through Virginia Minnesota on my way up North without stopping to appreciate the simple dignity of B’nai Abraham synagogue and the community that built and sustained it. Having generous and talented colleagues like Katherine, Linda and Julie has been wonderful. I’ll say it again—wonderful. Everyone should be so lucky as me in who they share their workdays and ideas with.

And I have been touched by so many passionate, funny, brilliant, and endearing people who walk through the front door. I hope that I have honored everyone that has come to JHSUM/UMJA by being a good listener and service provider.

I’ll keep you all posted about the new project I’m involved in. There are already connections I’ve discovered between local Jewish history and Minnesota agriculture, including the fact that the U’s renowned Plant Pathology Department had a contingent of Jewish graduate students enrolled in the nineteen teens, large enough that an author of a departmental history at the time referred to the “Hebraic tribe” of plant pathology scholars. Who knew? And don’t you want to know more? I’ll keep you posted.

Best, and B’Shalom,



Archives Alive Spring 2010

Susan Hoffman, Archivist

JHSUM is well into the second year of a big push to insure our collections are well preserved and easy to use.

Last year’s grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Minnesota Historical Society, totaling $10,000, allowed us to purchase new shelving for our entire Kaplan Family History Center collection and a state of the art photo storage cabinet, insuring that historic materials diligently collected for the last 25 years will be well-maintained far into the future. This year, JHSUM turns towards technology, upgrading and enhancing our database with the intention of making it easier for everyone to find out what we have in the collection. We are also taking advantage of existing web technology by putting our materials on popular web sites and opening them to commentary from community. Read the rest of this entry »