Preserving the Past & Enhancing the Future


The Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South offers a wide variety of opportunities for involvement. Our various committees span a range of interests and welcome whatever level of participation members choose to contribute.

The Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South is indeed fortunate to collaborate with other Jewish organizations to bring outstanding speakers to Memphis. Please see a detailed listing of our speakers under Programs.
Our newsletter, Southern Jewish Heritage, is produced two or three times each year and offers features about local Jewish people and institutions. It is mailed free of charge to members of the Society. Back issues are housed in the JHS section of the Temple Israel Archives. Please click  Southern Jewish Heritage Newsletter  for access to the index of articles published since 1987. Click on the issue date to access the desired issue.
In 2004-05, the committee inaugurated an exciting project. It began to document and photograph graves in cemeteries affiliated with all Memphis Jewish congregations. Photographs of these tombstones and other public obituary information are available on JewishGen website. Go to JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry--JOWBR.
Committee chairs and commitee members identify potential new members of the Society and invite their membership through mailings and personal contacts.
Oral and Recorded History
Our oral and recorded history project began in 2000 with the collection of already-prepared genealogies and family histories from Jewish families in the Mid-South. The project expanded to include interviews of older members of the Jewish community, an effort which is ongoing. The genealogies, histories, and interviews are housed in the JHSMM section of the Temple Israel Archives. Interviews are video/audio taped. The index of completed interviews is now available on this website. Click on Oral Histories or Exodus Project Interviews to access the oral interviews.
The Society plans trips to sites of Jewish cultural interest. We have visited such destinations as Natchez, MS; Hot Springs, AR; Little Rock, AR, a trip which included the Clinton Library; and Philadelphia, PA, where we saw the National Museum of American Jewish History. Locally, we have toured Elmwood Cemetery and other historic sites.
The Society collects and preserves a large variety of documents related to Jewish life in Memphis and the Mid-South. Materials are stored in the Jewish Historical Society section of the Temple Israel Archives where they are cared for both by our Archivist and by our volunteer staff. The archives facility is climate controlled and materials are housed according to the highest standards of preservation. Committee members volunteer time to maintain the growing collection of items from private donors. The Society encourages and facilitates the preparation and collection of genealogies and historical documents. Items donated include:
Margolin: Memphis Hebrew Academy and Finestone Yeshiva of  the South Yearbooks
National Council of Jewish Women: Archival documents from 1930
Kilstein: Yarmulke collection from local weddings and ceremonies
7.  Salon Circle: Archival documents from 1891
3.  Mirvis: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia 8.  Family Collections: Croner, Esser, Koller, Summerfield
4.  Lewis: Selma Lewis manuscripts 9.  Various cemetery lists of Memphis &
 Mid-South communities
Markowitz: 3000 plus vintage photos of local Jewish events .