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JHSUM Makes Some History of Our Own!

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150 years of Jewish Upper Midwest History is now safely secured at The Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives housed in the Andersen Libraries Special Collections Archival space four stories underground at the University of Minnesota. JHSUM has deeded our archival materials to the care of the University. We are very excited to have brokered a permanent relationship with the University ensuring our materials are now safe and secure for generations to come. Use of our collections increased 10 fold since introducing our on line database, an increase our very limited staff could not sustain. Now researchers from anywhere in the world can be served 24 hours a day as well as in person six days a week at the U of MN Berman Archives.

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Make no mistake JHSUM is not going out of business. JHSUM will still collect and preserve three dimensional cultural objects. We are turning to public exhibits and programming. Something we do very well. More exciting news about a future gallery of Upper Midwest Jewish Stories will be released soon.

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The new home for 150 years of Upper Midwest Jewish Experience

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JHSUM lost a treasure with the passing of Theresa Ackerman Berman

All who cherish our Upper Midwest Jewish history were saddened to hear of the passing of one of our founders, Theresa Berman. Just a few short days before, we had gathered to celebrate the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives new relationship with the University of Minnesota and celebrate her 100th birthday.

She leaves a legacy of community activism and quiet, stalwart leadership. It is because of her, Sharron Steinfeldt, and other leaders in our community, who saw the importance of not trashing our past, that JHSUM stands as the singular organization in the Upper Midwest dedicated to telling the story of 170 years of Jewish experience. JHSUM is dedicated to preserving these unique stories and educating the community about Jewish history in the region.

Theresa knew we could not let the stories of Upper Midwest Jewish experience slip through our fingers when she and others established the society in 1984. She remained a steadfast supporter and tireless leader building our organization. Our work today is a testament to her. We are forever indebted to her vision, leadership and plain hard work.

Please see the AJW article about her contributions to Minnesota.

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Turning the Page- Director’s Dispatch

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest is on the verge of a major milestone in its 27-year history. Over the next few months, the board of directors will consider the extraordinary opportunity to formally gift the Nathan and Teresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives collection to the University of Minnesota Libraries. The invitation by the University to unite our collections in the world-class Elmer L. Andersen Library on the west bank campus is a measure of our maturity as a historical society and the next step in our evolution. Jews make up less than one percent of Minnesota’s population, yet the Jewish community has made a much greater impact than numbers would lead one to believe. To have our story housed shoulder-to-shoulder with other holdings of such a great Minnesota institution as the University is a phenomenal testament to the work of our founders.

Appropriately, a bit of history is in order to understand how this came about. Ten years ago, when JHSUM needed a new home, we were invited to be part of the expanded Barry Family Campus of Minneapolis. Although we were very pleased to be recognized as an important community institution there was room for only half of our collections. Around the same time, through a connection made by Rabbi Bernard Raskas, of blessed memory, former Governor Elmer L. Andersen, of blessed memory, extended an invitation to JHSUM to place the other half of our collections at the library bearing his name. In 2002, JHSUM founders Nathan and Theresa Berman created an endowment for the collections at the Andersen Library, and the archives were named for them as a permanent memorial to their vision. We know our Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archive materials experience continually increasing use daily, by authors, scholars, documentarians, and students from around the world, because they are housed in a state-of-the-art archival space staffed by professional librarians and archivists six days a week, at the University of Minnesota.

Ten years later, along with JHSUM, the University faces funding challenges, leading it to reevaluate how their resources are used. With the passing of Gov. Andersen, our patron, it has become more difficult for the University to justify using scarce resources on a collection they don’t own. Consequently, they have offered JHSUM the opportunity to consolidate the JHSUM holdings now located at the Barry Family Campus with the Berman UMJA at Andersen Library by gifting them to the University Libraries.

The preservation aspect of our three-fold mission—preservation, interpretation, education—takes two-thirds of our budget. To maintain our collections and make them accessible for use we expend funds annually on an archivist salary, archival space rental, equipment and supplies. Like the University and so many other businesses and organizations, the Jewish community faces funding challenges. We have watched our support dwindle year after year. There now are many competing urgent needs. It is financially prudent for our board to consider the University’s offer to steward our history. As trustees of these resources, the board has a responsibility and obligation to create a permanent, safe, accessible place for these materials. If this history is not available, talked about, being used, then the vision of the founders of the JHSUM will be extinguished.

What is the primary advantage to this offer? Precious artifacts and documents, amassed over the past 27 years and representing an investment of hundreds of thousands of community dollars, will be preserved in perpetuity. The University has an infrastructure we could never match, from computers and internet to student archivists who can process in days hundreds of linear feet of new collections that would take months, if not years, for us to accomplish. The collections will have a dedicated archivist connecting our Upper Midwest Jewish stories to users everywhere.

Wendy Pratt Lougee, University Librarian, and Kris Kiesling, head of Andersen Library, know they can’t collect the important story of the Upper Midwest Jewish community alone and are committed to maintaining a close working relationship with JHSUM, relying on our subject matter expertise. We already have rewarding relationships with professors and students at the University, and we only expect them to get stronger.

JHSUM will continue to create exhibits and programming and assist the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives in collecting materials. Consolidating our archives and making them part of the prestigious University Libraries will allow us to concentrate our scarce resources more effectively, extending our reach and continuing our mission.

Brandeis University Professor Dr. Jonathan Sarna has called us “one of America’s best local Jewish historical societies.” He goes on to say “Thanks, to them, all of us have a far greater appreciation for the texture of Jewish life in the Upper Midwest.” This extraordinary offer from the University of Minnesota Andersen Libraries will allow us to maintain our status as one of the best local historical societies in the country and with your support expand our programming and interpretation.

Katherine Tane
Executive Director

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Junior Hadassah “Manless” Cabaret, Beth El Synagogue, 1930s

(Click photo to see larger image)

First Row L-R:
Irene Myerson
Anne Gavren
Gertrude Frolichman
Deborah Miller
Anne Blindman
Fanny Miller
Dorothy Berman
Hilda Noun
Second Row (leaning forward)
Ruth Harris
Reva Ziff
Miriam Bassis
Third Row (seated):
Margaret Schwartz
–Greene
Rose Hochman
Dorothy Shinder
Bess Kriv
Ann Locketz
Thelma Kay
Estelle Sussman
Zelda Ginsburg
Hilda Stoller
Alice Gordon
Sonia Tapper
Joy Marcus
Standing:
Ida Brochin
Jeannette Schwartz
Fourth Row Standing (L-R):
Jay?
Irene Cohen
– – –
Lilliam Rubenstein
Sue Noddelman
Leah Hechter
Betty Amiton
Leah Zeesman
Marian Hurwitz
Adele Brochin
– – –
Helen Steinman
June Rosen
Miriam Freidson
Ruth Zimmerman
Fifth Row (standing L-R):
Marcia Noodelman
Florence Morris
– – –
Mary Sckter
Lorraine Simkins
Bernice Grais
Dorothy Shechter
Sophie Gerb (Teener)
Florence Rosenberg
Ethel Steinman
Patty Helfman
Cecelia Levitt
Sarah Kaplan
Emma Levitt
Beatrice Selasky
Lenore Greenberg
Last row (standing L-R):
Beatrice Fredman
Helen Fredman
Jeanette Sobol (Fargo)
Evelyn Miller
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Director’s Dispatch Fall 2010

Today JHSUM stands as the singular organization in the Upper Midwest dedicated to preserving the unique stories and educating the community about Jewish history in the region because of the vision and hard work of our founders. In 1984 Theresa Berman, along with a dedicated group of JHSUM founders who cherished their memories of families and neighbors, rituals and celebrations, committed time, energy and money to record and preserve them.

Over the course of more than twenty five years JHSUM has built an exemplary collection focusing on the mid 19th century through the post war period, and has made this content accessible to thousands of people, locally, nationally and internationally through an engaging Web site, educational and programming activities and award winning exhibits. The collections have been gathered from hundreds of donors like you – individuals, family and organizations – conveying the story of how Jews shaped the region through their work, family life, institution building, worship and community service.

Today JHSUM is refocusing its collections to incorporate “new’ stories to add to the nineteenth and twentieth century history we have. We want to uncover the stories of the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s told through family and commercial photographs, personal papers, business and organization records, interviews and artifacts illustrating today’s Upper Midwest Jewish experience. Taste Touchdown! is expected to attract the next generation of community leaders who share our commitment to document the pivotal roles Jews play in shaping American culture, business, politics and civic life. Join us as we celebrate our founders and put the spotlight on the next generation of JHSUM leaders. Go to www.jhsum.org/programming or call 952-381-3360 to buy tickets or get more information. All proceeds benefit the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives located at the University of Minnesota Andersen Library.

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Director’s Dispatch Spring 2010


Katherine Tane, Executive Director

Fall and winter at JHSUM has been anything but quiet.
In November we had over 250 people join in welcoming Dr. Guy Stern and Walter Schwartz to the Minnesota History Center screening of “The Ritchie Boys”.  JHSUM was a community sponsor of the St. Paul Community wide Hanukah celebration with 500 people attending.  Our two Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair events reached 150 people. And there are no signs we are slowing down. As you can see from our front page, we have great spring programming planned for you.  We hope you can join us for one or more of these events in the upcoming months. You may want to take advantage of our offer of a free ticket to the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival or Rimon’s Artist Salon event when you make a gift to our Annual Campaign.

We are most excited to share with you our success in receiving two highly competitive Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants. These grants were made possible with the passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in November 2008. Our archivist Susan Hoffman is spearheading the two grant projects.  One project will result in a much more informative and satisfying experience for researchers using our collections database and the other creates a number of self- guided web based tours of Minnesota Jewish history.

In our award letter, State Senator Ron Latz noted

“The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest is a great asset to our community and the state. You were selected for the grant funds for your exemplary history programs and projects that preserve significant historical and cultural resources of our community. Thank you for your dedication and investment.”

It’s always gratifying to have this kind of recognition for our work at the state level.

Julie Tarshish is back with us after delivering twin boys, Charlie and Oscar in September 2009.  She is now our Programming and Communications Coordinator, a title that best describes all she does to keep JHSUM activities in the public eye.  You can see her work on our newly re-launched web site– jhsum.org — and the many other places we are out there on the web. A list of where our resources can be found is on the back of this newsletter.

You may also have heard a new voice at the front desk.  Cheree Cannon, Membership Coordinator, has joined us a few hours a week to keep our membership database current and send out your tribute cards.

We wouldn’t be able to meet head on this challenging economic climate for nonprofits without you. We greatly appreciate the commitment and tireless effort of our staff, Board, volunteers, supporters and friends.

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