United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York
UJA-Federation of New York's Oral History Project was started in 1981 by the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. Upon the merger in 1986 of Federation with UJA, the project was continued under the auspices of UJA-Federation of New York. The project was modeled on the oral history programs at other organizations, and in consultation with the William E. Wiener Oral History Library at the American Jewish Committee. It eventually grew to include over 200 oral histories, many shared with the oral history programs of other Jewish organizations because of overlapping histories, donors and leaders, and to encourage wider access to these materials. Affiliations in addition to the American Jewish Committee include the oral history programs at the Jewish Museum, the 92 nd Street Y and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA).
According to the most recently published catalog, "The Oral History Collection 2001", the purpose of the project was "to record the history of this organization through taped memoirs of volunteer and professional leaders whose lives influenced and were influenced by UJA-Federation." The project documented the American Jewish experience in the field of Jewish communal work in general and, in particular, gave an historical perspective on the activities of UJA-Federation and its agencies in the United States and in Israel.
Many of those interviewed were involved in the work of more than one of these agencies, or in other Jewish organizations in New York, creating a complex web of leadership throughout the organized New York Jewish community. The interviews describe activities, events, attitudes, motivation and emotional involvement in Jewish communal life over more than 60 years, encompassing a considerable part of the 20 th century.
The tapes were transcribed verbatim in typewritten form, and the transcripts were sent for review to the interviewees. The approved copy was kept as an official transcript of the Oral History Project and was made available (sometimes upon certain conditions) for researchers and the general public.
Volunteer leadership and professional staff were recruited and interviewed, some repeatedly, until their stories were captured more completely. Interviews were generally conducted after active involvement had ended, when perspective on their contributions would have been possible. Interviewers were hand-picked and carefully trained to master the technical issues of recording an oral history, as well as learning how to competently plan and direct an interview. As Nicki Tanner, the chair of the Oral History Project, worded it in her correspondence, she sought interviewers who could be "active listeners". Interviews were carefully edited and rights authorizations and releases were carefully sought and tracked.
Updated catalogs were published regularly through 2001 . The Oral History Project was active until 2004 .
From the guide to the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Collection, Subgroup V: Oral History Project, undated, 1943, 1955, 1962, 1965-2004, (American Jewish Historical Society)
|referencedIn||Herman Muehlstein Foundation, records, undated, 1947-2007||American Jewish Historical Society|
|creatorOf||United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York Collection, Subgroup V: Oral History Project, undated, 1943, 1955, 1962, 1965-2004||American Jewish Historical Society|
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