‘Mapping Jewish San Francisco’ places on-line a treasure trove of regional Jewish history

J. The Jewish Information of Northern California via JTA — The year was 1968. Young individuals from all around the country had been descending on San Francisco wanting for techniques to express on their own, making attempts — often heroic, often tragic — to cost-free by themselves from the bonds of American society.
At the identical time, a team of Jews arrived collectively in the metropolis to generate anything new.
“After painfully knowing that the Jewish leaders and specifically, in San Francisco, are only fascinated in lectures on the terrible lost era, but have no desire of supplying them a serving to hand, we opened, on our individual, a household of enjoy and prayer in San Francisco.”

Individuals phrases, by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, are on a handmade brochure from 1968. It’s only just one artifact in a treasure trove of paperwork and pics displayed in a new, on-line exhibit out of the University of San Francisco called “Mapping Jewish San Francisco.” Much of the historic materials is becoming seen publicly for the initially time.
“We truly want folks to get a feeling of the unique elements of Bay Region Jewish everyday living,” explained Oren Kroll-Zeldin, guide curator of the challenge and assistant director of the Swig Method in Jewish Experiments and Social Justice at the university.

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The San Francisco project was inspired by “Mapping Jewish Los Angeles,” a UCLA endeavor that for much more than a 10 years has been bringing multimedia stories of LA’s varied Jewish neighborhoods to everyday living.
“I assumed, oh my goodness, we will need to do this about San Francisco!” Kroll-Zeldin mentioned.
He brought the idea to Aaron Hahn Tapper, director of USF’s Swig Jewish scientific tests application.

“He was right away energized and supportive of it,” Kroll-Zeldin reported.
They got to get the job done, but executing the task was a bit additional overwhelming than predicted, such as generating certain the multimedia elements of the internet site labored properly.

The very first portion of a brochure promotion the Home of Adore and Prayer, 1968. (Photo/Mapping Jewish San Francisco/ by using JTA)

But now the internet site has launched with two inaugural exhibits: Kroll-Zeldin’s deep dive into Carlebach’s synagogue and religious commune acknowledged as the Residence of Love and Prayer, and a extensive glance at the Karaite Jewish community in the Bay Region and over and above.
“Through ‘Mapping Jewish San Francisco,’ we aim for people to improved comprehend how today’s Bay Spot Jewish local community arrived to be and the purpose that Jews have played in the generation of this main American town,” Hahn Tapper explained in an email.
Kroll-Zeldin explained a vital component in the work was the access he experienced to individual papers, stories, shots and anecdotes, supplied to him by the people who ended up there. He phone calls it “one-of-a-kind archival material.”
“This is only probable dependent on the willingness of these persons to convey to these stories,” he explained.

There are also movies, such as a series of oral histories with locals who knowledgeable communal dwelling, and archival audio recordings of Carlebach’s teachings and audio. The exhibit covers the achieve of the rabbi’s impact, but also touches on the controversies around Carlebach, who was accused of sexual misconduct by lots of ladies.
The second exhibition, led by Hahn Tapper, highlights the history of the Karaite Jews, a little but distinct and vivid neighborhood of Jews who are the inheritors of a minimal-regarded department of Judaism.
They break up from the mainstream, theologically, somewhere between the eighth and 10th centuries. While they comply with Torah, they do not comply with the rabbinic interpretations in the Mishnah and Talmud. Karaite Jews have lots of customs and prayers that set their spiritual practice apart.

It is a custom made between Karaite Jews to pray kneeling on the ground, as found listed here in the sanctuary of Congregation B’nai Israel in Daly City. (Courtesy Kararite Jews of America/ through JTA)

The major team of Karaites lived in Egypt until eventually the 1950s, when tensions, violence and war drove several of them out. Some moved to Israel and other individuals to the Bay Place, wherever they crafted a restricted-knit and active community.
Only 50,000 or so Karaites are remaining in the globe nowadays, with an estimated 1,000 in the Bay Space, site of the only Karaite synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.
“They are a pretty essential subcommunity of Jews,” Hahn Tapper stated. “In addition, as a spiritual research scholar who focuses on modern social identities, the means this Jewish community has re-established by itself here in the Bay Area is astounding.”
Hahn Tapper explained he went as a result of mounds of files and hundreds of hrs of movie interview footage to put collectively the on-line exhibition, referred to as “Out of Egypt.” He claimed the video clips are invaluable for the reason that so lots of of the Karaites who immigrated to the United States have died in the latest several years.
“Through this show we have documented their life, life of Jews in Egypt that no for a longer time exist,” he stated. “These interviewees paint a image of what it was like to rejoice Jewish holidays in Cairo, some of whom did so with their Muslim neighbors.”

Kroll-Zeldin explained every show requires up to two yrs to prepare, in collaboration with academics, college students and group leaders students initially accumulate and digitize the substance, then do the investigation, creating and bibliography get the job done.
The upcoming undertaking is remaining led by Rabbi Camille Angel, USF’s rabbi in residence, who is doing the job with her students to acquire tales of Jewish LGBTQ lifetime in San Francisco. Their investigate and conclusions will enable inform that chapter of Bay Area Jewish historical past, a type of storytelling that will continue on to be central to the task as it unfolds.
“People like stories,” Kroll-Zeldin mentioned. “Stories connect individuals. And there are so many exciting tales to notify.”
A variation of this piece initially ran in J. The Jewish News of Northern California, and is reprinted with authorization.

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