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Towards a Meaningful Snapshot: COVID-19 Oral Histories

Identifier: I-609

Scope and Contents

A study of Covid-19’s impact on Jewish organizations and communal leaders was conducted by the American Jewish Historical Society from 2020-2021. Interviews with 36 individuals carefully selected by a board of advisors took place via Zoom video conferences, the final product being a video recording of each interview with an accompanying transcript for accessibility.


  • Creation: 2020-2021

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

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Biographical / Historical

Towards a Meaningful Snapshot was largely inspired by Beth Wenger’s approach to documenting how the Great Depression re-shaped the American Jewish community in ways both big and small. In her 1996 book New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise1, Wenger interviewed community leaders and Jewish individuals alike to gain a more deeply informed understanding of how the Jewish community responded and adapted to the crisis as it was unfolding, and how innovation out of necessity may have led to positive changes with profound and lasting impact.

Building upon Wenger’s approach to information gathering and analysis, the American Jewish Historical Society conducted interviews with 36 individuals from across the American Jewish community to identify the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to adapt at this pivotal moment quickly and creatively. This project was motivated by the belief that core values and dynamics of the Jewish community during and directly following the pandemic will undoubtedly be of historical importance 60 years from now, just as Wenger’s observations of the Great Depression are today.


  1. Wenger, Beth S. New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise. (Yale University Press, 1996)


36 Digital Files

Language of Materials





This collection contains 36 oral histories documenting the personal experiences of a diverse group of individuals within the American Jewish community during the Covid-19 pandemic.


This collection is arranged alphabetially by name of project participant(s).

Towards a Meaningful Snapshot: COVID-19 Oral Histories
Ruby Johnstone
© 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

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