American Jewish Life Launches

Since the outset of COVID-19-related restrictions in early March, 2020, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) has been collecting data for its project, Pandemic Religion. Like some of RRCHNM's best known projects from the past, Pandemic Religion is gathering historical sources as history is being made. The center has collected a few hundred items about how American religious communities are responding to and being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is led by John Turner, Jessica Mack, and Lincoln Mullen, and involves a large team of the center’s staff and research assistants. In addition, the center has also partnered with several other universities for their collecting efforts.

One particular section of the site, entitled American Jewish Life, is a project that represents a partnership between RRCHNM and six Jewish cultural institutions across the country: the Breman Museum in Atlanta, Ga.; the Capital Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C. (set for opening in 2022); the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mi.; Hebrew Theological College (HTC) in Skokie, Il.; the Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University; and Yeshiva University in New York.

American Jewish Life was launched on Thursday, July 23, containing items that these partner institutions contributed. The program enthusiastically invites additional Jewish communities to contribute items so that the project can become an even more significant contribution to understanding how religious practice is being changed by the pandemic.