Western Jewish Historical Societies



Arizona Jewish Historical Society &
Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center

122 E. Culver Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Hours: M-F 10:30am-4:00pm
Lawrence Bell, Ph.D. Executive Director
Jack Fradin, Archivist/Administrator

Tel: (602) 241-7870
Fax: (602) 264-9773
Email: azjhs@aol.com or lbell@azjhs.org
Website: www.azjhs.org
See ARCHIVES for AJHS collections, finding aids and contact numbers.

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society seeks to preserve the rich heritage of Arizona's Jewish communities and to educate the public about the Jewish contribution to Arizona life. Their collections include oral histories, photos, sound excerpts and music.  In 2012, they produced a commemorative book, New Frontiers: Jewish Pioneers in the Arizona Territory, for the state's centennial.

The Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center is located in a restored synagogue which once housed Phoenix's first permanent Jewish congregation. The building and annex served as sanctuary, religious school and social center for the local Jewish community from 1922 to 1949, and then as a Baptist church for Chinese- and Spanish-speaking residents, before falling into disrepair. Purchased by the AJHS in 2002, it now serves as a museum, cultural center and event facility available to people of all faiths for educational and social functions. Call (602) 241-7870 for information and reservations.


Jewish Historical Society of Napa Valley
P.O. Box 6753
Napa, CA 94581
Donna Mendelsohn, President
Email: donna@dmendee.com
Tel: (707) 251-9092
Email: info@jhsnv.org
Founding Date: 2002
Website: www.jhsnv.org

The Society is a non-profit organization that seeks to preserve Napa Valley's Jewish heritage by providing diverse programming and education, including speakers, films and other content. In addition, it created a permanent exhibit, "The Jews of the Valley," at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville; commissioned the booksUnder the Vine and the Fig Tree: The Jews of Napa Valley, and Napa Valley's Jewish Heritage; and curated the Napa Valley Exhibition Hall in the online Jewish Museum of the American West.

Jewish Historical Society of San Diego

1934 Pentuckett Avenue

San Diego, CA 92104-5732
Laurel Schwartz, Archives Curator
Tel: (619) 232-5888
Fax: (619) 233-5833
Email: laurelschwartz@cox.net
Website: jewishstudies.sdsu.edu/archives.htm
Founding Date: 1980
See ARCHIVES for JHSSD collections, finding aids, and contact numbers.

Founded in 1980, the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to collect, preserve and disseminate information about San Diego's Jewish past. It is the only organization dedicated to this purpose. The Society's Archives, established in 1999, are maintained as a repository for the documents, records, photographs and papers of the local Jewish community. The Archives accepts both personal and communal materials relating to the Jewish community of San Diego. Donated materials will be organized, stored in archival cartons, cataloged and made available to researchers and to the community.

Jewish Historical Society of Southern California

6505 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 370
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Stephen J. Sass, President, JHSSC/Breed Street Shul Project
Tel: (323) 761-8950
Fax: (323) 761-8952
Email: JHSociety@aol.com
Website: www.jewishhistoricalsociety.org
Founding Date: 1952

Breed Street Shul Project
247 N. Breed Street
Los Angeles CA, 90033
Tel: (323) 881-4850
Sherry Marks, Executive Director, BSSP
Email: smarks@breedstreetshul.org
Website: www.breedstreetshul.org
Founding Date: 1999

To preserve and promote awareness of local Jewish history, the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California has produced lectures, exhibits, publications and oral histories; conducts Jewish history tours in the L.A. area, and maintains archives of community records. In 1996 they produced a film, "Meet Me at Brooklyn and Soto," celebrating the Jewish community of East Los Angeles. The Society's Breed Street Shul Project oversees the ongoing rehabilitation of the historic Boyle Heights synagogue, now the site for events which seek to bridge the gap between the past and present of this multicultural community.

Orange County Jewish Historical Society

Jewish Federation & Family Services
1 Federation Way, Suite 210
Irvine, CA 92603
Dalia Taft, Archivist 

Tel: (949) 435-3484 ext. 296
Fax: (949) 435-3485
Email: historical@jffs.org
Website: www.JewishOrangeCounty.org/historical
Founding Date: 1999
See ARCHIVES for OCJHS collections, finding aids, and contact numbers.

The society was established in 1999 in order to discover and preserve the history of the Jewish community in Orange County, and to promote public awareness of Jewish contributions to the Orange County way of life. The society's ongoing projects include the Living History Program and the digitizing of images from their archives. Additionally, it publishes a monthly column in Orange County Jewish Life on local Jewish history and activities. The society's documentary California Orange Jews: The Story of the Jews of Orange County was recently featured in the International Film Festival at the 30th Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy.

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies

333 Washington Boulevard, #336
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Dolores Sloan, President
Email: dsloanauthor@gmail.com
Arthur Benveniste, Vice-President/ Membership
Email: artbenven@aol.com
Lillooet Nordlinger, Vice President/ Communications
Email: lillooetster@gmail.com
General Inquiry: cryptojews@pop.powweb.com
Website: www.cryptojews.com
Founding Date: 1990

The Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies (SCJS) fosters the research of the historical and contemporary development of crypto-Jews of Iberian origin. Additionally, it provides a venue for the descendants of crypto-Jews, scholars, and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues. The society also has an annual conference, a quarterly journal, HaLapid, and an online newsletter, La Granada, starting in Fall 2011. HaLapid includes includes articles, personal stories, reviews of conferences and books and member interviews. Past issues can be found on the society's website. La Granada covers announcements, current events and issues. The society also joins Florida International University in publishing the annual Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews.


Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Ira M. and Peryle Hayutin Beck Memorial Archives, part of the Center for Judaic Studies and Special Collections, Penrose Library, University of Denver

University of Denver:
Penrose Library, Special Collections
2150 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
Dr. Jeanne Abrams, Director Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society & Beck Archives
Tel: (303) 871-3016
Fax: (303) 871-3037
Email: jeanne.abrams@du.edu
Website: www.du.edu/cjs/rocky_mountain_jewish_historical_society.html
Founding Date: 1976
See ARCHIVES for RMJHS collections, finding aids, and contact numbers.

Together with its Beck Memorial Archives, the Historical Society preserves the history of Jews in the West through exhibits, lectures, regional field trips, publications and a video documentary to serve the needs of scholars and other individuals interested in Jewish Western history.


New Mexico Jewish Historical Society
5520 Wyoming Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Naomi Sandweiss, President
Tel: (505) 348-4471
Fax: (505) 821-3974
Email: admin@nmjhs.org
Website: www.nmjhs.org
Founding Date: 1985
See ARCHIVES for NMJHS collections, finding aids, and contact numbers.

The Society is a secular organization which solicits membership and participation of all people interested in a greater understanding of New Mexico's Jewish heritage in all its diversity and strives to present this heritage within a broad cultural context. NMJHS publishes a Newsletter quarterly and holds genealogy programs and annual meetings.


Washington State Jewish Historical Society
2031 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Lisa Kranseler, Executive Director
Tel: (206) 774-2277
Email: lkranseler@wsjhs.org
Website: www.wsjhs.org
Founding Date: 1968
See ARCHIVES for WSJHS collections, finding aids and contact numbers.

The Society is dedicated to discovering, preserving, and disseminating the history of the Jews of Washington State. This history is shared through publications, exhibits, displays, speakers, and tours in collaboration with the University of Washington libraries.