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From the Archive

From the Archivenews

DJHS Founder’s Records Come to Light

Recently, our archivist, Jessica Schneider, and our archives assistant, Corynthia Dorgan, collaborated to write an article for The Rambler, the newsletter of the Southern Jewish Historical Society. The article, "DJHS Founder's Records Come to Light," highlights the large, invaluable collection of Ginger Jacobs, a co-founder of DJHS. Follow the link to reach the article, along with several others contributed by our regional colleagues. Rambler Spring 2021, Volume 25 Number 2              
DJHS Admin
April 28, 2021
1940sFrom the ArchiveJewish Veterans

Sylvan Karchmer Collection

The life of an archivist often involves stumbling down rabbit holes. Morsels of information located in primary source materials prompt further research, forming webs woven from a multitude of sources, connections made with dedication and deductive reasoning… It is this formula with which I bring you a recent acquisition, the Sylvan Karchmer Collection—a WWII Era correspondence collection donated by a niece of Sylvan's that provides an in-depth review of daily life and the experiences of an enlisted WWII soldier stationed in Italy and North Africa, and the lives of his loved ones during the conflict. Sylvan, standing far right, with other soldiers, undated To be honest, this collection is, as of yet, only partially processed. The content has not been closely studied, cross-referenced, or transcribed. It has simply been organized – chronologically and by author/recipient, so that the above tasks may be accomplished more efficiently. During that process, I was able to build a basic outline of Sylvan's family structure and a timeline of his training and service locations. Even so, organizing the materials still required outside research to learn about Sylvan and answer a few questions that arose - mainly: what is the structure of the Karchmer family tree?…
DJHS Admin
December 11, 2020
From the Archive

Torah in case

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “Our knowledge of Torah cases and mitpaḥot in pre-modern times is meager; the process whereby the case evolved from a mere receptacle for carrying the Torah into a sacred artifact can at most be conjectured.” Here we have a sefer torah scroll within a cylindrical “tik” or case with an onion shaped crown.“Cases may be adorned with colorful drawings or covered with leather, fabric, or beaten silver plates”. This particular case is composed of silver-colored plastic and adorned with hanging baubles and red and blue tones. Torah cases come in a variety of shapes, and styles that stem from different regions of the world. The onion shaped crown stems from Babylonian communities. Dorothy Wolchansky Collection https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/torah-ornaments http://www.stam.net/silver-torah-case.aspx https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sefer_Torah#Torah_ark,_rollers,_casing_and_decorations
DJHS Admin
November 10, 2020
From the Archive

Charles Kassel- Tefillin Bag

This Tefillin bag belonged to Charles Kassel. On one side of the velvet bag has a “C” and “K”,  his initials, and on the other side the Magen David, or Star of David, is embroidered with the Hebrew year 5653, which translates to 1982 or 1893 in the Gregorian calendar, depending on the specific date. The velvet bag with a drawstring closure on top looks very similar to bags from Europe in the early 1900s (example linked below). The velvet bag holds Tefillin, or phylacteries, which are small black leather cases containing a Hebrew text that, traditionally, observant Jewish men tie to their arm and head during daily prayers. Public records indicate that Charles (1877-1943) is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth, Texas.   Charles Kassel Collection http://cja.huji.ac.il/browser.php?mode=set&id=4639
DJHS Admin
November 5, 2020
From the Archive

“Blue & White Night” – Drumsticks

These “I Love Israel” drumsticks were given out during "Blue & White Night," held on May 9, 2019, for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas' Israel Week Celebration, in Zale Auditorium at the Jewish Community Center. The invitation said, “Celebrate the beauty and excitement that is Israel! Come see Zale transformed like never before! Featuring Israeli performance group, Jaman, for a night of music, dance, light and more!” Israel Week has long been a celebration embraced by the Dallas Jewish community in commemoration of the formation of Israel in May 1948. Debra Polsky Collection 
DJHS Admin
November 3, 2020
From the Archive

Russian Zvetouchny Metal Tea Canister

This cannister once held Russian Zvetouchny tea, or better known to some as Swee-Touch-Nee tea. The tea brand is approved during Pesach or Passover since it is Kosher and has been enjoyed by Jews worldwide for over 100 years - though predominately available in Russia and Europe. In fact, during the Holocaust, a tin tea canister helped a couple hide their jewelry from the Nazi’s. They had someone melt down their rings and hide it within the lip of the canister (the entire story is linked below).  https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/03/480176649/tea-pride-mystery-for-one-family-that-fled-the-nazis-a-tin-canister-held-it-all https://www.baltimoresun.com/citypaper/bcp-cms-1-1222926-migrated-story-cp-20111026-art-20111026-story.html https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth544331/m1/38/zoom/?q=Swee-Touch-Nee%20tea&resolution=4.691339796927518&lat=6626.769975333891&lon=2187.325481503419
DJHS Admin
October 30, 2020
From the Archive

Anne Garonzik Goodman Graduation Photo

Anne Garonzik was born in Pennsylvania in 1892. She was married to Charles Goodman during the month of February 1920 in Dallas, as it was announced in The Jewish Monitor. Before she was married, the January 1920 Census conducted in Dallas, shows she was located at 1409 South Akard, was 27 years old, both of her parents were from Russia, and she was a bookkeeper for the Mail House Order. She eventually was mother to Idelle Rabin, who donated items to DJHS, including her mother’s graduation photo. The photo is framed in a gold frame, with a beige oval mat. She is wearing a cap and gown with what appears to be a lace blouse or dress underneath.    Idelle Rabin Collection - Acc.# 2019.003 http://bit.ly/annegaronzikancestry https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296748/m1/4/?q=%20Anne%20Garonzik
DJHS Admin
October 28, 2020
From the Archive

Dreidel – “a great miracle happened there”

                      Here we have various colored plastic and wooden dreidels. Dreidel is Yiddish for "spinning top”. The Hebrew letters inscribed on a dreidel are Nun, Gimel, Hey or Chai, and Shin. The letters form an acronym for the Hebrew saying Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, which can be translated to "a great miracle happened there," referring to the miracle which Hanukkah is centered around. The custom of playing dreidel on Hanukkah is based on a legend that, during the time of the Maccabees, when Jewish children were forbidden from studying Torah, they would defy the decree and study anyway. When a Greek official would come close they would put away their books and take out spinning tops, claiming they were just playing games. To play dreidel, each player begins with an equal number of game pieces, which can be coins, candies, nuts etc. At the beginning of each round, every player puts one game piece into the center “pot”. Players then take turns spinning the dreidel. When the top lands on nun, the player gets nothing; on gimel, the player gets the entire contents of the pot; hey, the player gets…
DJHS Admin
October 8, 2020
From the Archive

Samuel Charles Blumenthal – WWI Dog Tags

Samuel Charles Blumenthal’s (1893-1978) WWI dog tags are located in the DJHS archive. Before World War I, Mr. Blumenthal lived in Georgia and was 23 years old. His name is stamped along the curved top edge of the alluminum tag. After July 26, 1918, all tags could be stamped with the letter indicating religion, i.e. “C”, “H”, or “P”. Mr. Blumenthal didn’t have H for Hebrew on his tag but it looks like he scratched a Star of David on his tag. His service number punched in the middle.  The dog tag was introduced to military srvice members in December 20, 1906. During the American Civil War there were so many unknown casualties that the American government decided soldiers needed to carry an identifying tag with them. What started as a single circular aluminum disc to be worn as an identification tag became required in 1913, and in 1916 the second dog tag was required--one to identify the soldier, and one to mark a coffin or burial site. The World War I dog tag was aluminum, the size of a silver half dollar, and imprinted with the individual's name, rank, regiment, and branch of service to be worn around the…
DJHS Admin
October 6, 2020
From the Archive

Bedikat Chametz – Feather, Spoon, and Candle Kit

There's an ancient Jewish custom called Bedikat Chametz (literally, “the search for Chametz). The night before Passover there is a search for any food that's made of grain and water that have been allowed to ferment and "rise”. The candle is for light when searching, the feather is used as a broom, and the spoon as a dustpan. The next morning you are to burn the items used to find the Chametz, as well as any of the found Chametz. In the DJHS archive, we have a Bedikat Chametz kit along with the instructions for the blessing.    chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1172862/jewish/The-Feather-the-Spoon-and-the-Candle.htm https://www.thejc.com/judaism/features/judaism-101-what-is-bedikat-chametz-1.461010
DJHS Admin
October 1, 2020