December 2012

Highlights of 2012 at the CJCCC National Archives

by Janice Rosen, Archives Director

2012 brought in a bumper crop of acquisitions: The CJCCCNA holdings expanded by more than 100 boxes over the past year. While much of this quantity was due to the ceasing of Canadian Jewish Congress' operations across Canada, many of the smaller additions can be attributed to our increased visibility via the CJHN website. Factoring into this total are donations from two synagogues; over a century's worth of minutes, newsletters and cemetery records from the venerable Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, and administrative and life cycle records from the historically complex Chevra Shaas Adath Jushurun Shevet Achim Chaverim Kol Israel. Of particular interest among the collections about individuals received in 2012 are the Philip Schachter collection and the Joe Jacobson series of the Percy and Joe Jacobson collection, both containing original diaries and letters written by World War II Jewish servicemen. Additions to our audiovisual holdings include a series of video interviews by Sharon Gubbay Helfer on Jewish-Christian dialogue-related themes.

This was also a record year for student internships:
In 2012 McGill student Ilana Donahue became the first Jewish Studies intern to work at the Archives, helping with diverse research and scanning jobs on a part time basis over several months. John Abbott College Library student Trista Nerenberg worked from January to March on a variety of assignments, including the digitization of many Lou Seligson profiles and sketches. McGill Library School student ShannonM-at-work-summer2012Shannon May spent an 80 hour summer term internship cataloguing the newly-received Chevra Shaas Adath Jushurun Shevet Achim collection, and University of Montreal Library School student Patrick Boivin PatrickB-working-on-SPcollection2012helped project worker Shirley Brodt complete the cataloguing of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue archives and digitized the portions selected for online display, during a 10 week combined internship and Young Canada Works grant-funded position.
Meanwhile, Shirley Sibalis, Willie Glaser and Eunice Seligson, the Archives' loyal trio of volunteers, have continued to work along with Assistant Archivist Hélène Vallée on the cataloguing of CJC records and small collections.

We helped the CJHN expand and diversify: The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network website has seen impressive growth over the past 12 months. In the first part of the year a Mobile Interface and cross-database "One-Search" features were added to the site. Following this, with the help of a Partnership Project special allocation from the Alexander Dworkin Foundation for Jewish Archives, we were able to help bring two new partners into the archival database of the site: the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue archives. Much of the database work involved in adding the Synagogue and the Holocaust Centre collections to the CJHN was carried out by project worker Shirley Brodt, drawing on her experience in doing this for the holdings of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim last year. In summer 2012 the Holocaust Centre joined the CJHN as a full partner, and their staff are now modifying and uploading data directly to the site. A third new contributor, the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum of New Brunswick, under our direction very recently added over 6600 names and associated information to the Genealogy database of the CJHN, with plans to contribute to the archival listings, with the assistance of the JPL archivist, by the end of the year or early in 2013. This new contribution comprises the first addition of records from outside the province of Quebec, and marks the beginning of a new phase in the growth of what has become a much-praised and increasingly utilized public resource.