Rodef Sholom, YSU Partner to Create Archive for Congregation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The history program at Youngstown State University is partnering with Congregation Rodef Sholom to create an archive for Youngstown’s oldest Jewish congregation.

Graduate students YSU’s history practicum will assist in the first stages of the project. Offered each spring, the practicum in applied history course tasks students with working on community projects to educate them on public history, preservation and archival institutions. 

“The hands-on experience is so valuable for the graduate students. The expertise of the faculty and advisors is a huge benefit for organizing, preserving and making accessible over a century and a half of our records and artifacts,” said Bethany Goldberg, a trustee and music historian at the temple, in a statement. “As we dream about and plan for the future of Rodef Sholom and the Jewish community in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, the archive project will provide a better understanding and appreciation of our past and strengthen the foundation upon which we strive to grow and prosper.”

Founded in 1867, Congregation Rodef Sholom is the city’s oldest Jewish congregation. Its current building at 119 Elm Street was dedicated in 1915 and has been expanded over the years to included the Strouss Memorial Social Hall, Tamarkin Chapel, Wilkoff Library, Handler Hall and the Sisterhood Gift Shop.

The project grew from meetings between Sarah Wilschek, executive director of Rodef Sholom, and Kayla Metzger, the AmeriCorps Ohio History Service Corps member hosted by the Youngstown State history program. 

Shortly after becoming executive director in April 2019, Wilschek discovered boxes of institutional records, including meeting minutes, scrapbooks, letters and financial ledgers, in a utility closet on the temple’s lower level.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.