Jewish Louisville History Committee

How do we preserve the history of our Louisville Jewish community? After all, there has been Jewish life in Louisville for more than 185 years.

The first congregation, Temple Adas Israel, today part of The Temple (Adath Israel Brith Sholom) was founded in 1842. The Jewish Community Center, originally the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA), was officially incorporated in 1890 but, according to Herman Landau’s book, Adath Louisville, it actually goes back to1862.

A newspaper is always a good primary source, but Community is a newcomer on the scene. The newspaper was launched in 1971. Community’s archive also contains old bound copies of the Post and Opinion, but those only go back to the 1950’s.

While these resources contain a great deal of information about what happened in the Jewish community, they are not a community archive. There are many things that didn’t make the paper – stories of friendships made at Camp Ricaree, Resnick AZA or Modern Femmes; of collecting door to door for early Jewish Campaigns; and of the Jewish businesses that once populated Preston Street.

Community’s archives also contain hundreds of photos, many of which predate my tenure as editor, including a significant number that are unlabeled.

It is time to do something to preserve those memories – to retell the old stories and to identify those photos. To do so, I need your help.

Please come to the Jewish Community Center on Sunday, June 8, at 2 p.m. for a relaxed hour of looking at old photos to identify who’s in them and when and where they were taken and sharing stories among friends about the memories the photos trigger.

This will be the first monthly meeting of the Jewish Louisville History Committee, and Frank Weisberg will chair it. We’ll identify the pictures that we can and record the conversation to create a permanent record as we take the first steps toward creating a Louisville Jewish archive.

For more information, please contact me, Shiela Steinman Wallace, at 238-2703 or I hope to see you there.


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