return to Home page Cleveland Jewish History Resources  

This list of online resources does not include links to the history pages on the websites of Cleveland's Jewish social service, educational, and religious institutions. To see those links, click here. Suggestions for this list are welcome.

The Best Pages

The best one page review is the JEWS & JUDAISM page on the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History website. The page, written by Scott Cline, will give you more than 60 opportunities to "click and learn more" on other ECH pages. We are glad to note that the page links to this website.

Cleveland in the 2006 Encyclopaedia Judaica.
Written by Jane Avner, formerly Jewish Archivist at the WRHS and co-author of "Merging Traditions" (see below), provides a very useful historical perspective, with comments on contributions to the arts and popular culture.

Maltz Museum Study Guides
These four study guides, all well done, are PDF documents for use by teachers to help them prepare their students for a Maltz visit or to guide discussions after the visit. But they could also be used by parents for the same purposes or by anyone just to learn more. They are hard to find so here are the links: Holocaust Israel, Judaism and my personal favorite Immigration.

Larger Resources

Cleveland Jewish News Digital Archive
In 2010 the CJN Foundation put all issues of the Cleveland Jewish News online - every page since 1964. In 2014 all the old Jewish papers were also digitized. Then in 2015 access was made free to all, thanks to the CJN Foundation.

Jeffrey Morris synagogue history collection  
In his new Jewish Cleveland: Haymarket to the Heights website
Jeffrey Morris has published an enormous collection of documents and images that depict the birth, changes, moves and mergers of Cleveland's shuls.

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
This site, on the web since 1998, is a pioneer in putting history on the internet. Its huge index of articles, all of them cross-indexed to other articles, gives generous coverage to leading Jewish men, women, and organizations.

Jewish American Archives - Cleveland Jewish Archives
The Jewish American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society collects and makes available for research material that documents the history of the Jewish community of Greater Cleveland. Established in 1976, these archives are the realized vision of Judah Rubinstein who had been the archivist and historian of the Cleveland's Jewish Federation since 1958, and were started with the support of the Gries and Ratner families.

There you will find the archives of many synagogues and other Jewish organizations and individuals, including the archives of Federation itself. [more on the WRHS] The WRHS has created online catalogs. Visit, click on RESEARCH & COLLECTIONS.

New resource    The WRHS archive finding aids are now online. The link is OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.

Merging Traditions
Judah Rubinstein (1921 - 2003), the historian of our Jewish community, whose work was supported by Federation for many years, wrote Merging Traditions (revised edition) with Jane Avner, published posthumously in 2004. (The original edition, co-authored with Sidney Vincent, had been published in 1978). The link above displays many pages, perhaps half of the book, on the web in Google books. Some of the book's images are available on the WRHS site (click here). 

Smaller Resources

The Cleveland Jewish Society Books    new
Starting in 1916 and ending in 1925 The Jewish Independent weekly newspaper published eight editions of these reference books, with information on major Jewish organizations and institutions, including their histories, officers and lists of members with addresses.

Jewish Encyclopedia
The complete 1901-1906 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia is on the web. We link to the article "Cleveland", written by Cyrus Adler (president of Dropsie College) and Samuel Wolfenstein (a European-trained rabbi and PhD who ran the Jewish Orphanage from 1878-1914). The password-protected 2007 edition is available online through the Jewish Educational Center of Cleveland.

Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland
Founded in 1982, this group fosters Jewish family history and genealogical research. For help in tracing your family history, this is the place to start. Its research library is in the library of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. The collection is catalogued online. Access to the catalog is available through the Fairmount Temple website.

Cleveland Jewish History Sources   newly expanded
Between 1954-56 t
o support a planned volume on the history of Jewish Cleveland by Lloyd Gartner young researchers, one of them the late Judah Rubenstein, worked in the library of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and created more than 16,000 index cards  The cards are now in the Jewish Archives at the WRHS Research Center. Our page also links to a seven page inventory of a database on of those cards 

American Jewish History Resources [pdf]
An inventory of Cleveland library resources published in 2004. Scope is American Jewish History resources, but has a valuable page on Cleveland history.

The Jewish Community of Cleveland by Rabbi Moses Gries
Written in 1910 by Moses Gries, then rabbi of The Temple, this 19 page essay says much about the early, interwoven history of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and The Temple - Tifereth Israel.

From Generation to Generation by Leatrice Rabinsky [pdf]
A four page essay that combines history, memories of growing up in Glenville, an appreciation of the community's strength and a look to its future. Leatrice Rabinsky taught (and still teaches) Cleveland Jewish history and the Holocaust. Seems to have been written in the early 1990s.

A 1920 directory of Jewish Cleveland
Organized Jewish Cleveland
from 90 years ago, as it appeared in the 1919 - 1920 American Jewish Yearbook.

Targeted Resources

Haymarket to the Heights: The Movement of Cleveland's Orthodox Synagogues From Their Initial Meeting Places to the Heights   
We regard the work of Jeffrey Morris as the most reliable, best authenticated we have. This downloadable e-book was published in June 2014 on Cleveland State University's digital history space. For coverage of all older Cleveland synagogues, including those that are now Reform or Conservative, see his website [ link ].

A Stitch in Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry 
This 132 page study of Cleveland's garment industry was written by
Sean Martin, PhD, curator of the Jewish Archives at the WRHS. Published by the WRHS in November 2015, it draws on the vast resources of the Historical Society and a vigorous outreach to gather new materials from the families of the owners and their employees.

Abba Hillel Silver
Rabbi of The Temple - Tifereth Israel for 46 years, Abba Hillel Silver (1893-1963) was one of America's leading rabbis. He is best known for leading the mobilization of American and world support for the founding of the State of Israel.

Researching Jewish Cleveland in the Late 20th Century 
A 27 minute podcast (audio file) of a talk given by Dr Sean Martin, Associate Curator for Jewish History, at the Western Reserve Historical Society at an AJL meeting in Cleveland June 2008. Devotes most of its time to the formation of Suburban Temple and Anshe Chesed's long battle to build in Beachwood.

Hebrew Cultural Garden 
A page of text and several pictures of the Hebrew Cultural Garden, dedicated in 1926. Source: Their Paths are Peace by Clara Lederer 1954, made available by the Cleveland Memory Project. Also visit their pages on the Hebrew Garden.

Jewish Cleveland before the Civil War   
A large, important essay on antebellum Jewish Cleveland by Nancy F Schwartz, then head of the Jewish Archives at the WRHS, and Stanley Lasky PhD, then professor of Sociology at CSU. Published in 1994 in the Journal of American Jewish History. Published in 1995, the appendix lists all 850 Jews who lived here through 1861.

This Tempting Freedom [pdf] 
In 1973 Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple commissioned Allan Peskin, PhD, Professor of History at Cleveland State University, to write a history of the city's first Jews and Anshe Chesed, its first congregation. This small book, now out-of-print, is the most thorough look at those early years. At our request, and with Allan Peskin's consent, CSU digitized and web-published this book in 2011.

Ohio Synagogues: a photographic journey 
Not complete, not up-to-date, but very useful. Includes some old pictures too.

Index to Cleveland Jews appearing in Who’s Who books  
Professional genealogist Paul Klein complied this list. A real time-saver for students of history and those doing genealogy research.

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage - a "must see" place

If you are interested in Cleveland Jewish history, modern Jewish history, or the American immigrant experience, and live near Cleveland or will be coming to northeast Ohio, the Maltz Museum in Beachwood is a "must see" place. In addition to a permanent exhibition and the Temple Museum, it regularly mounts interesting exhibits, created elsewhere or sometimes home-grown. We are lucky to have it.


In July 2011 the Museum discarded its original "Flash-based" website for a new site that offers many more pages and better navigation to find what you want. The site is now search-engine friendly, which will attract more internet visitors.

Then why is its website, which is attractive, lively, and always up-to-date, listed down here - below the line? Because, like most museum websites, focuses on getting you to visit, join, volunteer or donate, but has almost no content for online learning, other than its study guides, which we describe near the top of this page.

There are many more pictures of exhibit areas and they are beautiful (our favorite is The Temple - Tifereth Israel Gallery).

Update: April 2018

The Maltz Museum website [ link here ] continues to improve. It now has a page for each past exhibit. (To see these pages, most recent first, click on Exhibitions/Past.) Each page shows the name of the exhibit, its dates, its sponsors, and perhaps a few lines about it.

With this one-page-per-exhibit framework now in place, we hope to see the Maltz Museum enrich their new pages with more description, images and "learn more" links. Here's my suggestion. (Sorry, no check attached.) For each exhibit create a free one page (probably both sides) visitors guide. Then display the guide (in .pdf format) on the exhibit's page in the Past Exhibits collection. In this way each museum visitor would have a "take home" document. Further, donors and sponsors will know that through the website the exhibit they helped bring to the community will have a greater long-term benefit to the public, including many who were not able to visit the exhibit.

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage deserves a real visit.
Bring your kids and your parents. All generations will enjoy it.


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