The Cleveland Jewish News.
The Hebrew Observer.
The Jewish Independent.
The Jewish Review.
The Jewish Review and Observer.
The Jewish World.
That’s 125 years of Cleveland Jewish history now available at your fingertips – and it’s all free!
On July 1, the Cleveland Jewish News unlocked its Digital Archive, making every story, photograph and advertisement available at the push of a few buttons.
“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,” said Marc W. Freimuth, immediate past president of the CJN Board of Directors.
Susan C. Levine, immediate past president of the CJN Foundation, said, “Free access to CJN’s Digital Archive has been a long-wished-for goal. I continue to be overwhelmed and appreciative of the support from not only our major sponsors, but also our community whose generosity clearly set the CJN Digital Archive free.”
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,
“One of the three core missions of the CJN Foundation is to maintain and support the CJN Digital Archive,” said Paul Singerman, CJN Foundation president. “It has been the goal of the CJN Foundation Board of Directors to make the archive free and accessible to the public.
“Now, after extraordinary community support and a herculean fundraising effort for the CJN’s 50th anniversary celebration, we are able to fulfill that goal to provide our community 125 years of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Jewish history in an online, searchable archive, free and easily accessible to the world.”
Since the Digital Archive was launched in June 2010, those looking to conduct research have taken advantage of the wealth 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.
“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,” said Sean Martin, associate curator of Jewish history at the society. “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.
“The public library probably serves 8,000 to 10,000 people a year coming not just for Jewish material but everything,” Martin said. “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.”
Martin said it’s rare for a small, ethnic newspaper to produce its entire contents in a searchable database.
“I really don’t think it’s been done with smaller, ethnic titles here in Cleveland,” he said. “It was a pretty unique thing for a community that’s very interested in its history to marshal the resource to get this done. It only happens if people really put their money where their mouth is. The Jewish community is very interested in its history and its finds the resources to make it available.”
The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland Endowment Fund provided support, as did the Federation’s Nathan L. and Regina Herman Charitable Fund.
“For 50 years, the CJN has succeeded in being what its founders envisioned – a newspaper that our educated Jewish population could rely on for Jewish news locally, nationally and internationally; for differing points of view; for cultural happenings and comings and goings,” Levine said.
“Now, our CJN and those stories and points of view are available – free and easily accessible to the world. Technology is ensuring that we can continue what our founders envisioned – access to the CJN today and in the future, anywhere, any time – and that we will keep our words alive through the 21st century.”
The Cuyahoga County Public Library and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library are research partners for the Digital Archive.
The Ruth B. Cahn Curriculum of the CJN Archive, launched in fall 2012, uses the CJN Digital Archive to bring history to life for local Jewish school students. This unique and remarkable school curriculum draws from articles published in the CJN to provide lessons about Jewish community institutions, the Holocaust and tikkun olam/social action.