Queen's University

University Archives preserves century of local history

A Yahrzeit or Remembrance scroll This Yahrzeit or Remembrance scroll, listing the months and days of the year, and the names of the dead so that anniversaries of death can be marked with prayers, was repaired and preserved by Queen’s Art Conservation students in 2008. The scroll is part of a display celebrating the centennial of the Beth Israel Synagogue that’s open to the public through May 20.

A two-year project to document and share 100 years of local Jewish history is now on display, the result of a partnership between Queen’s University Archives and Beth Israel Synagogue.

Archives staff and students in the Art Conversation program worked with members of Beth Israel’s congregation to catalogue, restore and convert to DVD some of the material found in dozens of moldy boxes of documents spanning the Synagogue’s history. The material was donated to the University in 2008.

“It is an honour indeed for Queen's University Archives to be the steward for this important body of archival material documenting the evolution of one of the oldest Jewish congregations in Ontario," says University Archivist Paul Banfield. “This is a wonderful example of one of the many enduring partnerships that has been established between the University and the Kingston community over the years. We will do our upmost to honour the trust that has been placed in us by the Congregation to preserve its legacy for those who follow.”

Vivien Ludwin, former Director of the Bracken Health Sciences Library and a member of the Beth Israel 100th Anniversary Archives Committee says the synagogue is delighted its history is in such good hands.

“Not only are the materials well and securely housed in optimal conditions, but the Archives staff have allowed us to share this wealth of information in a new format for the first time.”

Seven videos showcasing the archival material are available for public viewing through May 20 at Otterburn House at 124 Centre Street. Admission is free. For the hours and more information, visit http://www.kingston-bethisrael.ca/100-years.htm


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Last updated at 2:05 pm EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
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