Hello and welcome to the Berman Archive, formerly the Berman Jewish Policy archive.
The Berman Archive is the largest open-access, digital archive of printed material about communal American Jewish life. We document American Jewish Communities and provide a platform for collecting, preserving, and sharing ideas, data, and points of view that define and sustain the American Jewish experience.
We house material typically produced outside traditional academic and commercial spheres, but which nevertheless provide insights into the long-lasting trends and persistent concerns about Jewish life in North America. For example the Berman Archive contains Earl Raab’s 1974 exploration of American antisemitism. Also included are Rabbi Howard Handler’s 1992 argument for the Conservative Movement’s full inclusion of Gay and Lesbian Jews, and Ruth Zager’s 1976 study called “The Jewish Professional and Jewish Identity.”
Together, the holdings of the Berman Archive comprise a vast trove of insights, observations, data, reports, and perspectives on organized Jewish life and service — valuable glimpses into the past for today’s professionals, scholars, and inquiring minds. The stories are not always positive but they represent the range of perspectives and positions across the spectrum of American Jewish life.
We are committed to an ongoing critical engagement with our holdings—preserving collections from a diversity of perspectives, and highlighting perspectives from the mainstream and the margins of American Jewish life. We welcome comment, criticism, essays, and contributions from current professionals and scholars engaged with the American Jewish community. Today you can read new essays about Latin Jewish culture and the pedagogical value of the Berman Archive.
We also invite organizations and individuals to contribute to our ever-growing collection of resources. We hope to gather as much material as we can about small, defunct organizations, quirky collective efforts, and historically underrepresented groups in American Jewish life. We are actively seeking reports, writing, and publication that might otherwise be lost to history or shoved in the back of a file cabinet, that can shine light on the true diversity of American Jewish life (If you’re interested in donating materials, please email me, directly).
Ultimately, our aim is to be the starting point for anyone engaging with American Jewish communal life — be it academic, professional, or religious — and a repository for the reflections and expressions of American Jewish professionals today.
So please, take a look around. We hope you’ll learn something new and stay with us as we continue to engage with our holdings and the broader community.
Ari Y. Kelman, Director, Berman Archive