Watching the demolition of Temple Emanu-El’s early south Dallas building, a concerned group of onlookers, including Ginger Chesnick Jacobs and Ruth Brown Kahn, became acutely aware of the importance of saving local Jewish history. That moment triggered the inspiration for the establishment of the Dallas Jewish Archives in 1970, which evolved over 18 years into the Dallas Jewish Historical Society (DJHS), dedicated to education on and preservation of Dallas Jewish history.
Behind its mission of “preserving the precious past as a living legacy for our community,” the society collects, preserves and records the history of the entire Dallas Jewish Community. Within the walls of our Archive are a bevy of documents, photographs, and ephemera of early Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, families and individuals woven into the fabric of Dallas history.
Since its founding, the DJHS has served as a repository for many agencies in the Jewish Dallas community, with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) at the forefront. In addition to many treasured artifacts, Dallas Jewish Historical Society continues to expand its collection of oral histories, having gathered more than 500 personal interviews with members of our Jewish community since 1971.
Currently located in the JCC, the DJHS features a climate-controlled vault, allowing for research under the highest archival standards. From downtown to South Dallas, the Cedars to Goose Valley, Deep Ellum to North Dallas and beyond, the DJHS preserves not only our history but information on our impact locally, nationally and internationally. Dallas Jewish Historical Society is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, supported primarily through membership contributions.