Announcing: CJN’s Free Digital Archives

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by Kevin S. Adelstein
Publisher & CEO, Cleveland Jewish Publication Company

As Publisher and CEO of the Cleveland Jewish News, I want to invite the Cleveland Jewish community to enjoy access to our free digital archives. Here’s the story:

On July 1, 2015, the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, publisher of the 51-year old weekly Cleveland Jewish News, provided free, worldwide access to the CJN Digital Archives.

The Hebrew Observer
The Jewish Independent
The Jewish Review
The Jewish Review and Observer
The Jewish World

Each of these newspapers preceded the Cleveland Jewish News with more than 75 years of Cleveland Jewish history. Add 50 years of history from the existing archives of the CJN and 125 years of Cleveland Jewish history is available for free, at your fingertips! Every story, photograph, column, news brief and advertisement is available at the push of a few buttons.

The most recent issues of the CJN will be made publicly available online 90 days after publication. CJN digital edition subscribers have immediate access to all content as it is published. To access the archive, visit www.cjn.org/archive.

Since the digital archive was launched in June 2010, those looking to conduct research have taken full advantage of the depth of information available. Many searches were conducted by teachers looking for historical information for classroom use that could only be found in the CJN Digital Archive and others were performed by those attempting to trace their family roots. With a few keystrokes, families could find information about a birth, bar or bat mitzvah, confirmation, graduation, engagement, wedding, anniversaries, and death. However, to access some of the older newspapers, people had to visit the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS).

According to Sean Martin, associate curator of Jewish history at WRHS, “Everyone can use it as a source for local history, whether they are topics of Jewish history or politics, the Jewish community role in the area it makes it much, much easier. Newspapers were always on hard copy and microfilm, and it really took a lot of effort. Now, it is so much easier for everyone to know about the history and it’s important for the Jewish community and non-Jewish community.”

In a recent interview with Cleveland Jewish News, Martin further explains the advantages in having instant access to the CJN digital archives. “The public library probably serves 8,000 to 10,000 people a year coming not just for Jewish material but everything. It really expands the number of people who are going to use it. They can do it from their home and it means they will do it. In the past, we would tell someone they have to come down to the historical society and use the microfilm, it’s a four-hour task. Now, you can log on in minutes from home.”

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland Endowment Fund provided support for the free access to the CJN digital archives, as did the Federation’s Nathan L. and Regina Herman Charitable Fund. Additionally, significant funds were raised through the generosity and support of the greater Cleveland Jewish community in the celebration of the CJN’s 50th Anniversary celebration on September 14, 2014.

These funds supported the initiative and goal to provide free world-wide access, as boldly promised by celebration committee co-chairs Susan C. Levine and Ken Hochman.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library are research partners for the CJN Digital Archive. As such, the community can access the full archive by visiting any branch of the CCPL http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/ or CH-UH Public Library http://heightslibrary.org/, or with a library membership card through the library websites.

As stated best by Cleveland Jewish Publication Company immediate past-president, Marc W. Freimuth, “Quite simply, the importance of the CJN Digital Archive is that it is the single, most comprehensive source of the history of the Northeast Ohio Jewish community for the last 125 years.”

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