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
Jeffrey Schesnol, Associate Director
Tel: (602) 241-7870
Fax: (602) 264-9773
Email: azjhs@aol.com or lbell@azjhs.org or jschesnol@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) 259-5332
Email: info@jhsnv.org
Founding Date: 2002
Website: www.jhsnv.org (currently offline)

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 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, Founder/Board President Emeritus, JHSSC/Breed Street Shul Project
Tel: (323) 761-8950
Fax: (323) 761-8952
Email: JHSociety@aol.com
Website: www.jewishhistoricalsociety.org
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Jewish-Historical-Society-of-Southern-California
Founding Date: 1952

Breed Street Shul Project
247 N. Breed Street
Los Angeles CA, 90033
Tel: (323) 881-4850
Mayra Sanchez Project Specialist
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. 167
Fax: (949) 435-3485
Email: History@JFFS.org
Website: www.jewishorangecounty.org
See ARCHIVES for OCJHS collections, finding aids and contact numbers.

The OCJHS 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. Ongoing projects include the Living History Program, the digitizing of images from their archives and a monthly column published in Orange County Jewish Life on local Jewish history and activities. The society has also produced a documentary film, California Orange Jews: The Story of the Jews of Orange County, which was 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
Debbie Wohl Isard, President
Email: editor.lagranada@gmail.com
Corinne Joy Brown, Vice President of Communications/HaLapid Editor
Email: cb@CorinneJoyBrown.com or corrinejb@aol.com
General Inquiry: info@cryptojews.com
Website: www.cryptojews.com 
Founding Date: 1991

The SCJS fosters research regarding the historical and contemporary development of crypto-Jews of Iberian origin and provides a venue for descendants, scholars and other interested parties to network and discuss pertinent issues. The society holds an annual conference and publishes both a biannual journal (HaLapid) and an online newsletter (La Granada). HaLapid includes scholarly and literary articles, personal narratives, book reviews, reviews of conferences and member interviews. La Granada covers similar content in a shorter format, along with announcements and events. The society also joins Florida International University in publishing the annual Journal of Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto Jews.


Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society
Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver
Sturm Hall
2000 E. Asbury Avenue, Room 157
Denver, CO 80208-0911
Dr. Jeanne Abrams, Director, RMJHS & Beck Archives
Tel: (303) 871-3016
Fax: (303) 871-3037
Email: jeanne.abrams@du.edu
Website: www.du.edu/ahss/cjs/rmjhs/index.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 Rocky Mountain West through museum exhibits, online exhibits and collections available through the University of Denver's Penrose Library; lectures and regional field trips; scholarly and popular publications such as Jewish Denver, 1859-1941 and Jewish Women Pioneers; and documentary films, including Growing Up Jewish in Colorado. In addition, they offer curriculum guides for the classroom and family tree charts for genealogical researchers. Through its archives and and its roster of diverse and evolving programs, the RMJHS seeks to serve the needs of scholars, the community and other individuals interested in Western Jewish history.


New Mexico Jewish Historical Society
5520 Wyoming Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Linda Goff, President
Anne McCormick, Administrator
Tel: (505) 348-4471
Fax: (505) 821-3351
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 sponsors ongoing research, maintains archives and presents lectures, geneaology workshops, films and conferences. In addition, the Society provides a quarterly newsletter, an educational curriculum developed in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and the New Mexico History Museum and a series of pamphlets on New Mexico's pioneer Jewish families, available for sale on the NMJHS website.


Dallas Jewish Historical Society
7900 Northaven Road
Dallas, TX 75230
Debra Polsky, MPA, Executive Director
Tel: (214) 239-7120 or (214) 239-7108
Email: dpolsky@djhs.org
Website: www.djhs.org
See ARCHIVES for DJHS collections and contact information.
Founding date: 1971

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society exists to preserve and protect collections of written, visual and audible materials that document the history of the Dallas Jewish community, to make these materials available to the public and researchers, and to maintain a living legacy for the community. Collections include video/oral histories and photograhy.

Texas Jewish Historical Society

P.O. Box 10193
Austin, TX 78766-0193
Susan Zack Lewis, President
Email: president@txjhs.org
Website: www.txjhs.org
Founding Date: 1980
See ARCHIVES for TXJHS collections, finding aids and contact numbers.

The purpose of the society is to collect, preserve, publish and disseminate materials having reference to the settlement and history of Jews in Texas and their participation in its social, economic, religious, political, professional and cultural growth. Since its creation in 1980, the TXJHS has sponsored and encouraged research and provided a forum for scholarly presentations and students of Texas Jewish history at every level. They produce a widely-distributed quarterly magazine, sponsor annual tours of Texas Jewish historical sites, published the book Deep in the Heart: Lives & Legends of Texas Jews, and have established a permanent archive at the University of Texas at Austin's Briscoe Center for American History.


Washington State Jewish Historical Society
3801 E. Mercer Way
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Lisa Kranseler, Executive Director
Tel: (206) 774-2277
Email: lisak@wsjhs.org
Website: www.wsjhs.org
Founding Date: 1980

See ARCHIVES for WSJHS collections, finding aids and contact numbers.

The WSJHS was created in 1980 as an outgrowth of the Seattle Jewish Archives Project for the purpose of furthering the discovery, preservation and dissemination of the history of the Jews of Washington State. This history is shared through the publication of books, CDs, DVDs and an e-newsletter; museum exhibits and displays; speakers; tours of Jewish historical landmarks, and a journey story project, "Passport to Washington." WJHS members support the ongoing development of the Jewish Archives at the University of Washington libraries by gathering archival materials, including a significant oral history collection.