return to Home page About This Cleveland Jewish History Website  

"A people's memory is history; and as a man without a memory, so
 a people without a history cannot grow wiser, better." 
I. L. Peretz

What Elie Wiesel told the Dalai Lama.*

One day in the late seventies, the Dalai Lama asked for a meeting with Elie Wiesel. According to Wiesel, the Dalai Lama said, "I'm familiar with your work, what you wrote about the Jewish people losing a homeland two thousand years ago and how you're still here. Mine has just lost its homeland, and I know it's going to be a very long road into exile. How did you survive?"

Wiesel replied, "When we left Jerusalem, we didn't take all our jewels with us. All we took was a little book. It was the book that kept us alive. Second, because of our exile, we developed a sense of solidarity. When Jews left one place for the next, there were always Jews to welcome and take care of them. And, third, good memory. Survival takes a good memory."

* Thanks to Evan Osnos "The Next Incarnation" The New Yorker October 4, 2010 (bold added)




Our Mission

The aim of is to present more Cleveland Jewish history to more persons by:

  • Developing web pages to make it easier to find online Cleveland Jewish history.

  • Increasing our web-based history with pages created on this site by myself and by similarly interested persons.

  • Encouraging organizations to present their history on the web, on this site or their own.

This website is a work in progress.

It began in 1998 when I was working on my first website, for the wedding of my youngest daughter. She was being married at The Temple at University Circle. This stirred memories of Abba Hillel Silver who had been my rabbi. Soon I was creating a page of links to web pages about him. (To see that first page, click here.) In a few years that page had grown to a 20 page website - the only one on Cleveland's leading Jewish citizen. In January 2007 the pages on Rabbi Silver became the nucleus of this new website which, as we show on our page How This Website Evolved, has since grown to more than 400 pages, 1,300 images and 600 links to other sites.

Since 2007 the content of many of these pages has been furnished by others (see our Contributors page). May that trend continue, for so many of us have stories to tell and pictures to share.

Your comments and participation are welcome.

Arnie Berger

Meet the Editor - WebkeeperArnold Berger


First - a disclosure. I went to Brooklyn Technical High School. Not Brooklyn near Cleveland; Brooklyn as in New York.

That means some of you will never consider me a Clevelander. Yes, I remember the Tasty Shop on Euclid Avenue, Abba Hillel Silver, George Szell, the Indians winning 111 games (in a 154 game season) and Shaker Rapid tokens that cost a quarter.

But for those my age who still ask "Where did you go to school?" (which for them means high school), I confess.

I came here in 1954. I had earned an industrial engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and had just graduated from MIT's Sloan School of Management.

Why Cleveland? I was interested in manufacturing. (Back then it was what we did best.) Large companies had management training programs that required several job and location changes over two or three years. Then they would decide what my job would be and where I would work. A city boy, I couldn't deal with even the smallest chance of being told to move to say Fargo North Dakota. Only Lincoln Electric offered employment in one location only -- and then we were the nation's seventh largest city.

I left Lincoln in 1957, taught at Case, earned a PhD here in 1963 and left to teach at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. I returned in 1966 to work on the federation of Case and Western Reserve to form CWRU, then served as Associate Director of the Cleveland Commission on Higher Education.

In 1971, after three years as an executive in a computer software business, I joined the Computer Science faculty in the College of Business at Cleveland State University, I left CSU in 1976 to start a company that provided software, networking, and timesharing. We developed accounting and database systems for mid size and large law firms, as well the Cleveland Foundation and the Cleveland Orchestra. All that ended in 1994.

My website work, which began in 1998, has generally been long-term. My role, as with this, my primary website, has been webmaster (creator of pages), author and researcher, and also editor, working with others. The sites include Abba Hillel Silver, a memorial to Luboml - a vanished shtetl, Cleveland Jewish History, Council Gardens, the Aaron Garber Library, plus some commercial websites. My SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work helped websites rank high on searches.

Since 2004 I've been an internet activist for my Shaker Square neighborhood, creating websites for the Ludlow Community Association and the Larchmere Merchants.

For years I was webkeeper for Congregation Kol HaLev, the Jewish Reconstructionist movement, and the magazine Jewish Currents.

It was a great pleasure to write the "From the Archive" column in the Cleveland Jewish News for a year, ending in October 2011.

In December 2017 I started a Facebook group Jewish History Hub and its companion website

Welcome to these pages.

Arnie Berger

See how this site evolved over the years.