The Dallas Jewish Historical Society was established in 1971 with the mission of “preserving the precious past as a living legacy for our community.” The agency is the only one that actively collects, preserves, and records the history of the entire Greater Dallas Jewish Community for research purposes. The Dallas Jewish Historical Society is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and is primarily supported by membership contributions.
The Dallas Jewish Historical Society became a reality nearly four decades ago to “preserve the precious past as a living legacy for all our community’s tomorrows.” Watching the demolition of Temple Emanu-El’s early South Dallas building, a concerned group of Dallas Jews, including Ginger Jacobs and Ruth Kahn, became acutely aware of the importance of saving local Jewish history. In 1970, the Dallas Jewish Archives were established and evolved some 18 years later into the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. Today, the DJHS is an agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas supported primarily through membership contributions.
The Dallas Jewish Historical Society serves as a repository for the many agencies of the Jewish community of Dallas, first and foremost the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Community Center. The holdings of the DJHS holdings include many documents, photographs, and ephemera of the early Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, families, and individuals woven into the fabric of Dallas history. From downtown to South Dallas, from the Cedars to Goose Valley, from Deep Ellum to North Dallas and beyond, Dallas Jews have made an impact in Dallas. From the long-standing congregations of Temple Emanu-El, Shearith Israel, and Tiferet Israel to the newer houses of worship, and those long since faded into obscurity, Agudas Achim and Anshe Sphard among them, DJHS stands to preserve their past and their future in history.
In addition to many treasured artifacts, Dallas Jewish Historical Society continues to expand its collection of oral histories, having gathered more than 200 personal interviews with well-known Dallas Jews since 1971.
In 2007, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society moved into newly expanded office facility within the Jewish Community Center. The highpoint of the expansion is the spacious climate-controlled vault which now allows DJHS to maintain the highest archival standards for carrying out the Society’s mission of preserving Dallas Jewish History.