Jewish Digital Narratives

The Jewish Digital Narratives of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life explore the networks of Jewish life in California and beyond.

The more we look at Jewish history and culture, the more we hear the resonance of the ancient term, haggadah.
Narration is at the heart of the Jewish experience, and the holdings of the Magnes, which span archive, library and museum collections, tell many stories from the four corners of the world. To us, the meaning of a narrative approach to Jewish cultural history lies in the particular, in the intricacies of its many interweaving cultures, but it also represents a paradigm that can often be applied to other cultures and interactions.

The Jewish Digital Narratives make a creative (and at times unintended) use of current technologies and social networking tools to organize, showcase and share what the Magnes has collected in almost half a century. How the objects, texts and documents in our collections reached Northern California is in itself a captivating story, which has only been partially told by the founders of the Magnes.

Digital images generated by the Magnes, or collected through programs like the Memory Lab, are first organized in a narrative form, on the basis of a detailed storyboard. The results are presented on the Magnes website in an interactive learning environment created with the innovative software, MemoryMiner. The narratives are also uploaded to popular networks like Flickr, where users can comment, provide feedback, tag images and circulate information. Research and collection information is made available through links to the Magnes Collections Online, our integrated Archive-Library-Museum (ALM) collections database.

The Jewish Digital Narratives are the result of meticulous research by our curatorial staff, by guest curators and scholars, and by an energetic pool of interns, for whom our collection represents an invaluable training ground.

- Francesco Spagnolo, PhD, Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

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Cantor Reuben H. Rinder (1887-1966) was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century Jewish musical culture. During his 50-year tenure as cantor of Congregation Emanu-El in San ...
The collection of the promotional materials of the Jewish Music Festival is the first Magnes archival collection to be acquired only in digital form.  The Jewish Music Festival is ...
Elizabeth Lilienthal Gerstley's Christmas Parties album contains 201 photographs taken inside the Haas Lilienthal House at 2007 Franklin Street, San Francisco, between 1954 and 1971. These ...
Jewish roots in China can be traced from the 9th century when Jewish merchants thought to be from Persia reached China by way of the Silk Road, and settled in Kaifeng. These Jews remained secluded ...
Images from the Western Jewish Americana archives of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life.    Council Cook Book published by the San Francisco Section of the ...
There were other large Jewish clans in Reckendorf, and isaias and Herman [Hellman] played with boys from these families, forming relationships that would survive immigration and distance. one of ...
Letter from Julius Eckman to Solomon Nunes CarvalhoSan Francisco, March 15, 1855Julius Eckman letter, 1855, BANC MSS 2010/513, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft ...
Founded in 1853, the Sonora Hebrew Cemetery was the first cemetery in the Gold Rush Region. The first burial dates from 1853, and the last was in 1977. On January 13, 1974, it was rededicated as a ...
On February 22, 1956, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, was filled by a crowd of opera-goers, rushing to attend the American premiere of Darius Milhaud's opera, David. The ...
Koppel S. Pinson (1904-1961), a professor at Queens College of the City University of New York, was a historian who specialized on the origins of German nationalism. At the end of the Second World ...
The Western Jewish Americana collections of the Magnes include a host of information on marriage and family ties since the early days of Jewish life in San Francisco, California.  ...
The Development Corporation for Israel (Israel Bonds) was founded in 1951 to raise money from the American public for the fledgling Israeli state, which, at the time, was struggling to build an ...
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