We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of William (Bill) Mexic z”l, who passed away on Monday, June 18th.  Bill was a long time friend of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society and we will miss him at our programs and events.  May his memory be for a blessing and may his family and friends be comforted among the other mourners of Zion & Jerusalem.

From an Archive Volunteer – Aliza Rosenberg

Recently, I was looking through the archives when I stumbled upon a file labeled “JFK”. I assumed it was about the assassination, maybe a newspaper article or a witness testimony from somebody who was there. Instead, what I found was an invitation for someone to attend the inauguration in DC. It stood out to me, not because it was odd that a Jew from Dallas was close enough to be invited, but because it was a glimpse of a world where the words “Dallas” and “Kennedy” could be mentioned in the same sentence without automatically causing us to think about murder and conspiracy theories. One of the interesting things about working in an archive is that you get to not only learn about different people in history, but you also get a glimpse at what the world looked like through their eyes. 

Treasures from the DJHS Archives – Skibell/Goldstein Collection


Russian Chumash from the Skibell-Goldstein Collection

Among the many collections to explore, the archives of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society (DJHS), located in the Aaron Family JCC, houses a collection from the Skibell-Goldstein family, chronicling the history of this large Jewish family from the late 1800s to early 1970s.  The collection includes a large number of photographs (some from the 1870s) and documents (letters, government certificates, two wedding ketubahs – one from 1911 and another from 1941), as well as a number of artifacts, including a Russian Chumash, dating back to the 1800s.

The Goldstein family traces its roots in Dallas back to the late 1800s when the patriarch of the family, Jacob Goldstein, immigrated to the United States from Russia through the port of Castle Garden, NY in 1882.  In 1910, one of Jacob’s five children, Isaac Goldstein, married into another prominent immigrant family, the Skibelski family, who changed their name to Skibell upon entry into the United States.  Isaac and his wife, Ida, had five children – Jacob, Hilda, Sylvan, Mitchell, and Rhea Leah.  All three of the sons served in the military during World War II.

A notable artifact in this collection – a World War II medical kit – belonged to Isaac Goldstein’s sister, Beckye Goldstein Levin.  After the United States entered the war in 1941, the Red Cross quickly mobilized a volunteer and staff force to provide comfort and aid to members of the armed forces and their families, as well as to serve in hospitals suffering from severe shortages of medical staff.  Millions of volunteers across the country, including Beckye, stepped up to the call of duty.  On September 1, 1942, Beckye became a member of the Citizens Defense Corps and was certified as an instructor for several courses, including Fire Defense and Gas Defense.  The medical kit contains its original contents.

Goldstein Medical Kit EDITEDThe Skibell-Goldstein Family Collection documents and unfolds the story of how two immigrant families came together and successfully integrated into and contributed to American society.  The collection was generously given to the DJHS by Elaine Druss Lerman, daughter of Hilda Goldstein Druss, and granddaughter of Isaac and Ida Skibell Goldstein. To learn more about the collection, please visit DJHS at the Aaron Family JCC.

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society works to collect and preserve the papers, photographs, artifacts, and recorded personal stories that illustrate the rich history of the Dallas Jewish community.  Please visit us anytime at to view our extensive online collection of oral histories from hundreds of people who have shaped the Jewish community of Dallas.


Submitted by Liz Liener, DJHS Board Member


EVERY HOME HAS A STORY . . . Sunday, November 6, 2016, 3:15 p.m. at the Aaron Family JCC

Do you have old family photographs in boxes in a spare room or garage? Do you have Bubbe and Zayde’s old love letters in a box in the attic?  Do you have your parents’ wedding pictures and Ketubah?  Are you unsure if your family heirlooms and documents might have any value?  Do you know you have something great and want to preserve it, but just don’t know where to start?

As part of Learning Fest 2016, The Dallas Jewish Historical Society will host an introductory preservation workshop to help provide information about basic preservation, practical advice for handling, storing, and caring for personal collections, and to raise awareness of the value that personal family collections can hold for historical or cultural heritage institutions. Join us and learn what you can do to start organizing and preserving your family’s incredible story.



Alexis Joanna Ferguson, MLS, DJHS Archivist

Alexis provides leadership of our Archive Management program. Alexis received a BA in Anthropology from TCU and an MS in Library Science with a specialization in special collections, preservation, and conservation from the University of North Texas. She has worked for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and volunteered at both the Dallas Holocaust Museum and George W. Bush Presidential Library. Additionally, Alexis has extensive experience in cataloging, metadata creation, and volunteer management.  She has just returned from the Digital Directions conference, enhancing her knowledge of the fundamentals of creating and managing digital collections.  This experience will help DJHS achieve our goal of becoming a fully online digital repository.