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Library and Archives

Gordon Jewish Community Center Library

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    The Annette Levy Ratkin Jewish Community Archives

      To browse the contents of our archive click HERE.  


       The Annette Levy Ratkin Jewish Community Archives collects the records of the families, businesses, and institutions of the Nashville Jewish community, which began in1851.  Housed in the Library of the Gordon Jewish Community Center, the Archives has the records of such organizations as the Nashville Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, 100 years old in 2001, Hadassah, B’nai B’rith, and the Jewish Community Council, which became the Jewish Federation.

           Microfilms and hard copies of The Observer, which began publication in 1934, and its predecessor The Y.M.H.A. News, which was first published in 1915, are in the Archives. An oral history audiotape collection, sponsored by the NCJW, documents the memories of older adults who grew up in Nashville and has been transcribed. An oral history collection, sponsored by the Jewish Federation, records on DVD the experiences of  Holocaust refugees, survivors, and liberators. Tombstones dated prior to 1900 from The Temple Cemetery, which became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, have been photographed, documenting their inscriptions.

           All documents and photographs are stored in acid-free containers and are available to researchers under supervision of the archivist. Users have included university and high-school students doing research on Nashville Jewish history and the Holocaust, Jewish organizations celebrating their anniversaries, and exhibits on local families. Nashville has joined with Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis, under the direction of the Tennessee State Museum, to prepare an exhibit on the history of the Jews of Tennessee for the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, to be held in Nashville in 2007.  The exhibit will then travel to other museums throughout Tennessee and the South.

           “A Caring Community, the History of the Jews of Nashville,” produced by the Archives, traces the development of the Nashville Jewish community from 1851 to the present. It is available in DVD and VHS from the Archives for $10 plus postage.

             What happens today will be history tomorrow, and the Archives seeks to preserve the records of all Jewish people from Nashville, whether here for six generations or six years. Please consider donating your family’s papers to the Archives, so that they will become a part of the history of the Nashville Jewish community.



           For more information, please contact Lynn Fleischer

      at 615-356-3242 ext. 255 or