Jewish Heritage Project Six-Month Update - February 2015

With smiles on our faces, we enter the sixth month of this project.

What began in August 2014 has gained enthusiastic support and participation of many community members. Advisory groups were formed and each has met once: the Community Advisory Council, the Advisors on Research and Education and the Holocaust Advisory Group. Together we identified organizations and individuals for oral history interviews. We also met with Jewish Federation organizations and the Rabbinical Council to share our mission. These advisors are central to the project’s progress and ultimate success, which will include a broad spectrum of local themes and topics from Las Vegas’ earliest known history to more recent times.

In addition to oral histories, the project is looking for donations of historical materials that document the history of Las Vegas. Examples of great stuff we have received include a private letter from Frank Sinatra’s account confirming a significant donation to one of the synagogues. Someone else donated corporate records about the expansive development of the valley in the 1990s. We also now have wonderful scrapbooks that peak into Hadassah of the 1960s. More items are being curated and will be archived at Special Collections in UNLV Library for all to use and view.

We are constantly looking for collections of photographs that provide a look at events and people, businesses started by Jewish business people, letters and minutes from organizations that tell a story about a time that may be forgotten; items that will become a permanent part of the history of Las Vegas from Jewish contributors.

We hope for materials that can become part of our digital collection that touch upon gaming business, the growth of synagogues, the Holocaust survivors migration to Las Vegas, education and religious schools, Jewish leadership in local politics, women and men who have provided leadership, entertainment, builders, and philanthropy and other ways that people of Jewish ancestry have made an impact in the history of Las Vegas.