Virtual Program Archive

Virtual Program Archive

Our virtual programs celebrate the “Society” in American Jewish Historical Society. A historical society is much more than only the keepers of documents and papers that remain in their manuscript boxes. It is our mission to connect the past to the present and make our collections come to life for visitors.  From an exclusive look behind the scenes to spirited discussions in Emma's sitting room, these virtual programs provide participants with a chance to discover and engage with the stories in our collections from your own home. See below for a full archive of our past virtual programs.

*Interested in booking a virtual program for your group? Click Here! 


Live From The Archives: The Gangster, the Undercover Investigator, and the Historian

This program origionally aired on October 20th, 2020.

More than just pushcarts and stickball, the Lower East Side was a complex immigrant neighborhood embedded in a complex, rapidly urbanizing and industrializing city. In the 1910s, uptown and downtown Jews joined together to form community--the Kehillah of New York-- and deemed crime-fighting to be essential. The Kehillah engaged Abraham Shoenfeld to go undercover to research and investigate the Jewish underworld. Decades later, a historian named Arthur Aryeh Goren researched the Kehillah, and found his way to Shoenfeld's meticulous notes, and Shoenfeld himself, who regaled him with tales of gangsters, prostitutes and unscrupulous police and politicians. Join AJHS historians and archivists as we share some of the amazing material from this collection. Professor Jennifer Fronc, author of New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era, places this undercover work in context.

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Live From The Archives: Hank Greenberg and Yom Kippur

This program origionally aired on September 22nd, 2020

What does Baseball have to do with the High Holidays? And what do Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and the 1986 New York Mets have in common? Join us to find out! Dr. Jeffrey Gurock of Yeshiva University and Melanie Meyers, our Director of Collections of Engagement, discusses baseball, religious observance and more, including the AJHS baseball memorabilia collection. 

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Live From The Archives: High Holiday & The Lower East Side

This program origionally aired on September 8th, 2020.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Lower East Side was the largest Jewish city in the world, and one of the most crowded. As Jewish immigrants adapted to American streets and American ways, the brought their customs with them. The performed tashlikh on the Williamsburg Bridge, and transformed movie theatres into synagogues. On this episode of Live From The Archives we step outside the stacks, and onto the streets of the Lower East Side to discover the ways in which our collections illuminate the constant reinvestion of high holiday celebrations in the city of New York.  We will then venture home as culinary historian Sarah Lohman live streams from her kitchen and demonstrates a sweet recipe, fit for the New Year, from our cookbook collection.


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Live From The Archives: Family Portraits and Multi-Racial Identity

This program origionally aired on August 25th, 2020.

The Moses Family were one of the most prominent New York Jewish merchant families of the late 18th and 19th century. Dr. Laura Leibman recently uncovered a fascinating story behind the immigraion and migration that contributed to their multiracial identity, using collections from the AJHS archives. Join us on August 25th as we take a closer look at two ivory miniatures, engage in conversation with Professor Leibamn, and learn about life in early 19th century Barbadoes, London, and New York City. Melanie Meyers, Director of Collections will then share how AJHS acquired the objects-- that story sheds light on turn-of-the twentieth century New York Jews and the Society's early days.

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Live From The Archives: GI Jews

This program origionally aired on August 11th, 2020.

Over 500,000 American Jews fought in WWII, and the experience transformed the soldiers as well as the broader American Jewish community. At the archive, we'll explore artifacts---dog tags, prayer books, chaplains' "to-go" kits used for services in the field. We'll also draw on the expertise of historian Deborah Dash Moore, author of GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation. Director of Collections Melanie Meyers will reveal the 83,000 cards created by the National Jewish Welfare Board, some of which might have information about your relatives, and share the unexpected surprises and nuances of archival history that make this collection unique, and significant.

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Live From The Archives: Emma Lazarus' Red Manuscript

This program origionally aired on July 28th, 2020.

Emma Lazarus handwrote her work here in the mid-1880s, and while we typically turn to page 1 to study “The New Colossus,” this time we’ll turn to page 2 to study “Progress & Poverty.” Initially published in the New York Times, Lazarus wrote the poem after reading labor activist and journalist Henry George’s 526-page economic analysis, Progress & Poverty. Join Executive Director, Dr. Annie Polland and AJHS Director of Collections and Engagement, Melanie Meyers for a live show that draws on the perspectives of Professor Schor, historian Ed O’Donnell, author of Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age,  and others, as you discover more facets to Lazarus’s work.

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