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History of The Archive


The history of the Jewish community of Nashville began with "five families and eight young men" in 1851. The Archive of the Jewish Federation serves as the repository of this history. It is a collection of the stories, records, photographs, and documents of the families that settled and grew in Nashville as well as the businesses and organizations that have made Nashville strong and vibrant. 


The Annette Levy Ratkin Jewish Community Archive was established by the Jewish Educational Service Committee of the Jewish Federation in 1978 and is housed in the Gordon Jewish Community Center.  Examples of a few of the collections include:


  • Religious institutions dating back to the 1860s

  • Microfilms and copies of The Y.M.H.A. News, from 1915-1934

  • Microfilms, hard and digital copies of The Observer, from 1934 until present

  • An oral history collection, sponsored by National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), documents the memories of native Nashvillians

  • An oral history collection, sponsored by the Jewish Federation, on DVD records the    experiences of Holocaust refugees, survivors, and liberators

  • Tombstone photographs, dated prior to 1900 from The Temple Cemetery, National Register of Historic Places 

  • Jews in Music, Politics, Arts and University Education

Click here for a listing of archive contents.

Nashville Jewish History


"A Caring Community: the History of the Jews of Nashville" is a multimedia program that traces the development of this community through the use of original source material.


Personal narratives are interspersed with factual accounts which combine to reveal a panorama of important historical events. The audiovisual program graphically demonstrates how a small group of Southern Jews organized itself to respond to the local, national and international events that shaped its history.

Recognize these photographs?


As the archive is being digitized many materials have been discovered with no history. If you can identify PEOPLE -- LOCATION -- DATE in either photograph below please click the link below to send information to the archive staff. Additional photos will appear so check back periodically.


Your help is greatly appreciated. 

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