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Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Updates

Preserving Las Vegas

By Emily Lapworth on October 28, 2015 1:32 PM | Permalink

The Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project is part of UNLV Special Collections' broader mission to collect, preserve, and make available the history of Southern Nevada.

UNLV University Libraries | Special Collections | Mission and Purpose:

The history of Southern Nevada is unique and can be viewed through many different lenses, including the lens of the Jewish community. In a culture that focuses on what's new, it is important to preserve records that may be otherwise destroyed.  

UNLV University Libraries | Special Collections | Collecting Las Vegas History:

UNLV University Libraries | Special Collections | What We Do With Your Donations:

SNJHP Web portal coming soon!

By Emily Lapworth on October 7, 2015 8:45 AM | Permalink

While we work on building the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project web portal, we want to give you a preview of what it will look like. Below are some screenshots of parts of the portal- it's not the whole thing and it's not completely finished yet, but we are excited and want to share our progress with you. Our goal for the web portal is to provide a rich source of contextual information about the digital objects that will be available online and the materials that are available for use in the Special Collections reading room. Archival collections are grouped together based on provenance, or who created the materials; in the web portal we will provide biographical information about collection donors, oral history interviewees, and other members of the local Jewish community. We also hope to illuminate the connections between individual collections by identifying themes that we have noticed as we work with these materials and hear people's stories.

A Tale of Four Katz

By Barbara Tabach on September 18, 2015 8:51 AM | Permalink

If it’s true that most of our personal histories will be forgotten within one and half generations of our passing, then the work an oral historian has great purpose. From the oral histories collected so far for this project, a picture of early Las Vegas is developing. What was it like for early Jews who settled here? How did they meet and offer friendship to each other? There was no synagogue.
With wonderful fortune our Jewish Heritage collection of oral histories is preserving memories of those early days. With the recent passing of Edythe Katz-Yarchever and a few months prior of Mimi Katz, I recalled the following story that Mimi loved to tell.
In 1957, Mimi and George Katz arrived in Las Vegas. Wanting to make Jewish friends they attended a Friday evening gathering of Jews. There was no temple, but Jews gathered to celebrate the Sabbath. Here are Mimi’s words from her December 2014 oral history which was recorded for this project: 

Jewish Heritage Project Online Collection Guides - Now Available!

By Emily Lapworth on September 1, 2015 9:54 AM | Permalink

Photograph of Hadassah members looking at an album, 1960-1975. From the Mary Barkan Collection on the Las Vegas Jewish Community, 1964-1997. MS-00426.

Thank you to the individuals and organizations that have generously donated collections of historical documents, photographs, and other materials to UNLV Libraries as part of the Jewish Heritage Project. We are working on describing all of these new collections so that they can be more easily discovered online and more useful to researchers. We have also been improving the descriptions of some older collections related to the Jewish community of Las Vegas. Here are links to all of the new and updated collection guides that are currently available on the Special Collections website:

August Update

By Barbara Tabach on August 14, 2015 9:47 AM | Permalink

Everyone has the construction of the approaching web portal in their sights. So with the sleepy lull of summertime behind us, it is time to peek at what has happened behind the scenes over the past couple of months. 

Tasks have included: preparing transcripts and audio clips of oral histories; scanning photos, documents and other items of interest; and creating data, that's the step that makes all this stuff searchable. [They are magicians to me.] And there are the other magicians who construct the actual web portal--and trust me, it is looking beautiful.

As the primary oral historian on the project, I was delighted to tally that I have interviewed nearly fifty people to add to the collection for the Oral History Resource Center. The coming year I intend to duplicate that and appreciate the suggestions of names and contact information for these Jewish voices of Las Vegas history. 

Project update and sneak peek at the Edythe and Lloyd Katz Papers

By Emily Lapworth on August 10, 2015 8:37 AM | Permalink

Summer in Las Vegas is a time when many people take a vacation and leave town to escape the heat, but here at UNLV Libraries we are still working hard on the Jewish Heritage Project. Many thanks to the individuals and organizations who have donated their records and/or oral histories to Special Collections for preservation and research use, and to our other supporters. We are currently organizing, describing, and digitizing these historical documents, photographs, and oral histories to make them accessible online, although some are already available for use in our reading room. Please contact us if you have primary sources you are interested in donating ( or if you are interested in recording an oral history ( For more information on what kinds of primary sources we are looking for, please see this blog post.

Sneak Peek at the Dorothy Eisenberg Papers

By Emily Lapworth on July 6, 2015 11:07 AM | Permalink

UNLV Libraries Special Collections is home to the Dorothy Eisenberg Papers, a collection of historical materials donated by activist and "professional volunteer" Dorothy Eisenberg. Here is a sneak peek of some highlights of the collection that were digitized as part of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Stay tuned for the official web portal, which will provide access to even more unique and valuable digitized primary sources, as well as contextual information such as biographies, timelines, maps, and more.


Democratic women honoring Bonnie Bryant

Women's Democratic Club, 1990. Back left: Sara Besser, Judy Klein, Sharon Segerblom ?, Renee Diamond, Helen Meyers, Lindsey Jydstrip, Shelley Berkley, Jan Jenkins. Front Left: Beverly Carlino-Banta, Bonnie Bryan, Dorothy Eisenberg, Marie Ripps.


Always Remember – Holocaust education workshop

By Barbara Tabach on June 24, 2015 12:53 PM | Permalink

Earlier this month the inaugural Always Remember Institute was held on UNLV’s campus. Three of our project advisers were the leads of this thoughtful and informative event: Dr. Elizabeth Spalding, professor of English Education in UNLV’s College of Education; Myra Berkovits, currently the Education Specialist for Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center; and Susan Dubin, a librarian and consultant to the Holocaust Resource Center. This illustrious trio and their support team deserve nothing but high praise for the success of the two-and-a-half day event. 

Since the beginning...

By Emily Lapworth on June 1, 2015 12:08 PM | Permalink

I started working on the Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project in early January. My main responsibilities are to collect archival materials that document the local Jewish community, process and describe these archival collections, and select items to be digitized and made available online. Working on this project has allowed me to learn about Las Vegas through the stories of the Jewish individuals and organizations that have shaped the city's history. We have also collected the papers of locals who made an impact outside of Southern Nevada, such as U.S. Senator Chic Hecht and U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley. Many of our "Jewish" collections are already open to researchers in our reading room at UNLV, but I can't wait until we can share these unique primary sources online with the rest of the world.

Adele (Salton) Baratz