Jewish Archives and Historical Society
of Edmonton and Northern Alberta (JAHSENA)
Debby Shoctor, Archivist
JAHSENA was established as a non-profit society in Alberta in 1996. Its founder, Uri Rosenzweig, had the idea to write a history of the Edmonton Jewish Community to celebrate its centennial in 1993, and so founded the Society in order to write the book, and to look after the materials collected during the process. The Society is independent of any Synagogue or religious denomination, and collects the records of all Jewish organizations, Synagogues and individuals resident in the Northern half of the Province of Alberta. The book, "A Century of Jewish Life in Edmonton and Northern Alberta, 1893-1993," was published in 2000, and that same year, the Society hired Archivist Debby Shoctor. Since that time, the Society's holdings have grown to 60 metres, housed in its offices at the Jewish Community Centre of Edmonton.
To date, 167 of our most important fonds are listed on the ANA database, and we have almost 500 images on Alberta In Sight, and 300 on Alberta In Word. Some of our most important fonds include the Peter Owen fonds (highlighted in this issue); the Abraham Shnitka fonds (King's Printer, and sole Yiddish printer west of Winnipeg); the fonds of the Beth Israel and Beth Shalom Synagogues; our Oral History Committee fonds, containing 167 oral history interviews of community members; and our collection of Edmonton Jewish Newspapers.
The Society exists to preserve and protect the Jewish heritage of Edmonton and Northern Alberta through the collection of archival documents and audiovisual materials for the use of present and future generations.
- To preserve the Jewish heritage of these communities through proper archival acquisition, housing, arrangement, cataloguing, preservation, restoration and access of collected materials;
- To promote interest in the history of these communities and their archives through educational and publication projects;
- To actively collect archival items from members and organizations of the community;
- To pursue funding to continue the programs of the society on a permanent basis;
- To work closely with the Provincial Archives of Alberta to support JAHSENA and its projects on an ongoing basis, and to permanently house the archives.
- To work closely with the Archives Society of Alberta to catalogue our materials according to RAD and include them on the databases provided on the ASA website, namely Archives Network of Alberta, Alberta In Sight, Alberta In Word, and ultimately, CAIN.
- The collection of archival material pertaining to the Jewish families of Edmonton and Northern Alberta; the smaller Jewish communities of Northern Alberta, and the Jewish organizations of Edmonton and Northern Alberta.
- The recording and transcribing of oral histories of members of the community.
- The photographing and description of the Edmonton Jewish cemetery.
- The recording and videotaping of the accounts of Holocaust survivors and secondgeneration members of the community.
- The collection of artifacts for periodic exhibition within the community and elsewhere.
- The undertaking of a lecture series on the history of the community.
- The writing and publication of articles on the history of the community in its more widely distributed publications.
- .A genealogical survey of the Jewish families of Edmonton and Northern Alberta.
- Archival material collected shall include photographs, negatives, textual records such as oral and written histories, documents, newspapers, newsletters, books, audiovisual materials, etc.
- The collection of miscellaneous, non-archival materials relating to the history of the Jewish communities of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, eg. plaques, memorabilia, awards, statues, perhaps for the creation of a museum branch of the society.
- Access to the collection is available to all members of the community during office hours or by appointment, for reference purposes only.
- Reproduction or duplication of certain items can be done for a fee.
- Material may be restricted based on copyright, legal or personal considerations as well as conservation/preservation reasons.
- No person shall be prevented from using the records acquired by the archives unless it is deemed that the material will be physically endangered or used in an illegal manner.
- Publication of a Triannual newsletter, Heritage (Yerusha).
- Publication of The First Century of Jewish Life in Edmonton and Northern Alberta.
- The establishment of a permanent office for the society within the Edmonton Jewish Community Centre.
- The development of a permanent relationship with the Provincial Archives of Alberta for repository of materials.
- Membership in and participation in the Archives Society of Alberta.
- The procurement of longterm sources of funding for the organization.
- The creation of an active Board and Executive.
- The employment of a professional Director and Archivist for the Society.
- The production of a documentary film on the history of the community: "From Pedlars to Patriarchs: A Legacy Remembered."