Message from the President
Welcome to the Washington State Jewish Historical Society! I'm delighted that you're taking this opportunity to learn more about our organization, and I'd like to share some of my thoughts about our name and our mission.
Consider elements of our name: "Washington State Jewish Historical Society."
Washington State and Jewish The Society is not just for native-born Washingtonians nor is it just for Jews. Rather, we're about the connection between the history of our State and the history of our people. Thus, our mission is to "promote interest in and knowledge of the life, history, and culture of the Jewish people both of the State of Washington and of other parts of the world."
Historical We all are making Washington State history. Jews have been part of the fabric of our State since the mid 1800's - as professionals, merchants, scrap dealers, farmers, politicians, students and educators. And, as participants in history, we place great value on recording the details of our stories.
Our archives and collection of historical artifacts both were initiated by our founding members. They include personal, business, and organizations' documents, oral histories, photographs and objects that we preserve, document, store and make available to all who are interested in learning more about our history (there's that word again) through traveling exhibits and displays and as part of the Special Collections at the Allen Library of the University of Washington.
Our story is also told by a wide variety of speakers, exhibits and programs. Two of our recent exhibitions emphasized the scope and depth of the Jewish presence in this area. The Six Generations project and exhibit traced the histories of families who have been in the area for six generations - which to our great surprise and joy encompassed about 100 families. "Who's Minding the Store" used story boards and narrative to tell of 175 Jewish-owned businesses existing in Washington State from the mid-1800s to the present. Reaching outside the State's borders, we also recently presented a program featuring Jewish women in the cinema from the early 1900s through Gertrude Berg, to Barbara Streisand.
Society A Society may be defined as a "community of people living in a particular location and having shared customs, laws, and organizations." In this sense, 'people' does not mean someone born in Seattle, living in Spokane for two generations, or whose family has been here since the 1800's. People means us - All of us, wherever we are from, however we arrived here. The people in this Society are young and old, newcomers and six generation-ers. We are all making the history of Washington State. Join us. Participate with us. Be a part of our society, and of our history through the Washington State Jewish Historical Society.