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  City Hall Library Notes, November 2013

"Celebrating 359 Years: Historical Moments in the NYC Jewish Experience" Exhibit

By Christine Bruzzese

The newest exhibition in the Department of Records Visitor Center celebrates Jewish-American contributions to New York City history, life, culture and politics. With documents dating back to the arrival of the first Jews to the colony of New Amsterdam in 1654, the exhibition features unique and never -publicly exhibited items selected from the collections of the Municipal Archives and City Hall Library. Presented in coordination with the Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, the exhibit opened on September 17, and will run through December 31, 2013. Opening hours at the Visitor Center, Archives and Library are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Some of the special highlights of the exhibit -

  • Evocative photographs of Jewish-Americans in New York City during the Great Depression taken by renowned photographer Arnold Eagle
  • The original 1893 felony indictment against Emma Goldman for "wickedly and maliciously intending and contriving to disturb the public peace"
  • Letter dated December 9, 1896, from the Central Committee of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, comprised of wealthy German Jews, regarding their desire to "Americanize" the "Russian Element" of the Jewish population in New York
  • A Hebrew Bible from David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, to Mayor William O'Dwyer on behalf of the Jewish people of Palestine, February 20, 1948
  • Interviews with prominent Jews such as the late Mayor Edward Koch, former City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Visitors are encouraged to spend time at this multimedia exhibit to learn more about the Jewish experience in New York City. And while there, to explore the resources of the City Hall Library and Municipal Archives.

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