National Library launches project to document coronavirus impact on Jewish life
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National Library launches project to document coronavirus impact on Jewish life

Jerusalem archive seeks ‘ephemera’ including emails about online synagogue services, appeals to help isolated community members, and announcements of innovative Jewish law rulings

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray outside a closed yeshiva, in the town of Bnei Brak, on March 26, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray outside a closed yeshiva, in the town of Bnei Brak, on March 26, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

JTA — The National Library of Israel has created an archive to document the impact of the coronavirus on Jewish communities around the world.

The Jewish Community COVID-19 Archive will be made up of “ephemera items” — materials not generally intended for long-term preservation. Such items often help scholars understand daily life and social trends, the library said in a statement.

“As the dynamic institution of national memory for the State of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, we see it as a very natural and critical role for us to be collecting and preserving materials related to how coronavirus is impacting Jewish life and practice,” said Yoel Finkelman, curator of the library’s Haim and Hanna Salomon Judaica Collection.

The library is asking for contributions of materials that document the impact of the virus, including emails about online synagogue services, appeals to help isolated community members, and announcements about innovative Jewish law rulings. Material can be emailed to ephemera@nli.org.il.

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