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Ottawa Jewish Archives now more accessible online

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Ottawa Jewish Archives archivist Saara Mortensen, right, confers with Janice Rosen, left, and Shannon Hodge, founding partners of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network.
Ottawa Jewish Archives archivist Saara Mortensen, right, confers with Janice Rosen, left, and Shannon Hodge, founding partners of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network

Archival information about the Ottawa Jewish community is now available online through the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network (CJHN), a website linking and providing access to the resources of major organizations involved in Canadian Jewish archival preservation.

The Ottawa Jewish Archives has become a partner of the CJHN, a collaborative project since 2011 of the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives (formerly the Canadian Jewish Congress national archives) and Montreal’s Jewish Public Library archives.

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The Ottawa Jewish Archives, which is under the aegis of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, is the seventh institution to add information about its collections to this database. It is the first partner from Ontario, joining Quebec and New Brunswick, which is represented by the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum.

Established in 1969, the Ottawa Jewish Archives acquires and preserves holdings that document the history and development of the Jewish community in Ottawa and the greater National Capital Region.

“Partnership with the CJHN was a natural choice for the Ottawa Jewish Archives  as the collections showcased on CJHN are inter-related on many levels,” said Ottawa Jewish Archives  archivist Saara Mortensen. “Together they constitute an unparalleled resource for the study of Canadian Jewish social, cultural, civic and community history… This project enables the Archives to more effectively meet user expectations, encourage discovery of our collections, and better
deliver archives services.”

Dworkin archives director Janice Rosen, founder of the CJHN with JPL’s archives director Shannon Hodge, noted how important it is to have on board an archival institution from Ontario, home to significant part of the Canadian Jewish population.

The other partners are the Quebec-based Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Museum and Archives and Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Archives.

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The Ottawa Jewish Archives  holds documentation from the 1890s to the present, including records relating to individuals and families, community organizations and events, congregations and businesses.

Descriptions of some of these collections – not the documents themselves – are now available on the CJHN website, and the Ottawa Jewish Archives  will continue to contribute more records in the future, Mortensen said.

This project was supported by funding from the government of Canada.