The card shown above
refers to an August 20, 1858 column in the American Israelite by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise.
It is the
source Gartner and others have used to describe Cleveland's first
Jewish burial, which was on August 7, 1840.
Read our page on the burial of
Once a relevant item in an old book, magazine or
newspaper was found the technology of
the day (1954) was used:
- type a 4" x 6" index card,
- copy the story (photocopying was used),
- cut it to size and staple it to the card,
- file the card, date within its category.
The more than 16,000 index cards are now in 15 boxes in
the Jewish Archives at the WRHS Research Center and available to
A finding aid (detailed inventory) for this collection, named Cleveland Jewish
History Sources, which also describes how the cards were
created, was prepared by Dr. Louis Rosenblum in 1992. It is MSS 4621. Like all WRHS
Finding Aids it is now available online, and searchable through
OhioLINK online repository.
Access the online finding aid.
Clevelanders will remember the Cleveland-based researchers who
prepared many of these cards more than 60 years ago:
Rabbi Jack Herman (1922-1969) and Judah
These cards came to the WRHS Archives in
1988 from Judah Rubinstein. That means they had been kept at
Federation's offices and were available to Allan Peskin in his
research for his 1973 work This Tempting Freedom.
these cards important
They can help anyone researching our
Jewish history, through 1954.
Imagine you want to study Cleveland's
Jewish Community Council, an organization that existed from 1935
until 1951 when it merged with the Jewish Welfare Federation
creating The Jewish Community Federation. As the Finding Aid shows,
there are index cards for this topic. They can give you a good
Another key research tool today is the Cleveland Jewish News
online archive. This free and open site includes our Jewish papers
of that era: the Jewish Review & Observer, Jewish Independent and Yiddishe Velte.
August 4 2018
Update July 21, 2023
Recent interest in the acquisition of our first Jewish burial
ground, Willet Street Cemetery, its deed recorded on August 7, 1840,
and the first burial there on the same day, of Alexander Kahnweiler
(Kanweiler) has raised several questions. These events were 50 years
before our first Cleveland Jewish newspapers. I am about to visit
the Cleveland History Center to use those index cards! My hope is to
add to our page on the first