What are the Archives?
Since 1991, I have been collecting and cataloguing Jewish GLBT-related material. The collection includes material from a wide range of sources: print, film, video, audio, events & ceremonies, music, performances, ephemera, etc. In the spring of 1994, I self-published an extensive index to this material in a 200+ page volume containing almost 2,000 entries [sorry it is currently out of print].
The Faces Project:
An on-going major project is the Jewish GLBT faces display. I am constantly updating a list of names which I use to collect information about any of us who have had our picture appear in print. The list is currently 900+ people, of which about 500+ have been added to the display which is housed on an industrial catalogue stand holding twenty-four binders.
How can I help?
You can help the collection grow by watching for Jewish GLBT material, particularly in your local publications. Please check before sending in material in case I already have it.
Tell me more...
Read Gil Kezwer's article "Gay archives imortalize Jewish celebrities, artifacts" now online at the Jewish Bulletin's excellent website.
It's now official! The papers have been signed for the Jewish GLBT Archives to become the core collection in the ONE Institute's newly created Judaica Collection.
ONE Institute Establishesby Neil Big
Recently, the ONE Institute Board established a Judaica Collection as part of IGLA (International Gay and Lesbian Archives). As an IGLA Special Collection, the Judaica Collection will be directed by Jesse Jacobs, ONE Institute Board member, and coordinated by Dr. Neil Big, a Visiting Scholar in Anthropology at USC who is researching aspects of the lesbian and gay Jewish experience.
The Judaica Collection will reflect the range of influence of Jewish thought, culture and history upon evolving lesbian and gay identity. It will document how Judaism has treated homosexuality over the centuries, from biblical prohibitions to recent support of gay and lesbian Jews as members of the spiritual community. It will document how Jewish principles about social justice, equality, human rights, diversity, liberation, interpersonal relationships and suffering have helped develop lesbian and gay activism. And it will document how individual Jews, gay or straight, have contributed to these efforts.
The Judaica Collection will include an ongoing living history project to document life stories of lesbian and gay Jews and those who support them. Using techniques of oral and cultural history, these archives will honor how individuals have reconciled their Jewish roots with the lesbian or gay aspects of their being.
The oral histories will explore how being homosexual and Jewish have helped shape their lives. How have they struggled, suffered and flourished as community members? What have they experienced as victims of anti-Semitism, nazism and the Holocaust, homophobia, racism, sexism or other forms of oppression? How have they reacted politically? How have they found sexual freedom, friendship, love and fulfillment by moving to conducive environments, defining themselves on their own terms, or building communities and families? How have lesbian and gay Jews responded spiritually to Judaism, practicing or rejecting traditional religion, reinterpreting ethics and ritual, assimilating, or leading secular lives? How have they contributed as innovators, creators, performers, artists, scholars, writers, entrepreneurs, teachers and helpers?
The Judaica Collection can be an international safe depository for activist organizations, community institutions, and political and legal activities on behalf of lesbian and gay Jews. The Collection can document the work of lesbian and gay synagogues, Jewish oriented lesbian and gay organizations, and Jewish activists who defend homosexual rights and related issues. And it can document the situations of lesbian and gay Jews in different countries.
Plans for the Judaica Collection include making it accessible to the public. Through the Internet and World Wide Web, the Collection could contribute to the online resources available to lesbian and gay Jews. As online technology develops, the Collection could refine its website presentations. Locally, the Collection hopes to organize or co-host lectures, film showings, readings and other events to make its archives known to the public.
The Judaica Collection invites lesbian and gay Jews and those who support them to contribute to its development. Individuals can offer to be interviewed, donate personal collections, and suggest others to contact. Individuals could volunteer time and skills for research, cataloging, interviewing, transcribing oral histories, translating foreign language documents, developing online and website resources, and organizing archives. Undergraduate and graduate students could serve as interns, with Dr. Big working with their academic programs to individualize their training opportunities.
To support these activities, Dr. Big will be soliciting funding for portable tape recorders, a videocam, VCR and video editor, an audio transcriber, a computer and peripheral equipment, research, archiving and cataloging expenses, subscriptions and document acquisition, and staff. Individuals can make financial or in-kind donations earmarked for the Judaica Collection. Dr. Big will be happy to meet to discuss the Collection. He would like to find a team of enthusiasts who, working together, will develop the Judaica Collection as an international lesbian and gay cultural resource.