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YU News

Call for Material: Yeshiva University Archives Jewish Coronavirus Collection

The Archives Team at the Yeshiva University Libraries has embarked on a project perfectly suited to both their training and the challenges facing the University: They are collecting digital materials related to the coronavirus pandemic and the Jewish community, focusing on Jewish communities in North America, for an online digital collection.

“Below are some examples of what we’re looking for,” said Shulamith Berger, Curator of Special Collections and Hebraica-Judaica. “Here was a unique opportunity to document the Jewish communal response in real time to an unprecedented event affecting many aspects of Jewish life and law, such as minyanim and synagogue attendance, how to deal with a three-day Passover holiday observance and solo seders, how to hold a wedding or a bris, or in contrast, funerals and shiva, during this time of illness, quarantine, and isolation.”

Materials that the Team is looking for (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Community notices
  • Announcements by rabbinic organizations, synagogues, schools, summer camps, mikvahs and other Jewish organizations and businesses
  • Rabbinic responsa
  • Pages from a journal someone kept on how this Passover differed from other Passovers
  • Blog posts
  • WhatsApp communications (preferably in the original format)
  • Tweets (preferably in the original format)
  • Facebook posts

At the moment, Berger explained, the items have to be in a digital format, “though later, we hope to also take in physical items as well.” They would prefer that people not send in newspaper articles, since these can be gathered together by other means.

To get material to the Team, Berger suggests sending it in a digital format (such as JPG for photos and a PDF for documents). People can also provide links to the material or forward original emails (Berger asks that the emails be forwarded, not cut-and-pasted into a new email). All submissions can be sent to

The Archives Team is made up of Berger, Deena Schwimmer (Archivist), Sara Saiger (Archives Associate), Davis Selis (a graduate student at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies) and various staff members of the Gottesman Library.