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Building Communities JUF Window Display

Building Communities JUF Window Display

September 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012

Spertus presented Building Community, a display of Chicago's Jewish history in the windows of the Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Beginning in September, pedestrians on Monroe Street were able to get an up close look at Chicago’s Jewish history. Building Community, a display presented in conjunction with the ongoing Spertus exhibit Uncovered & Rediscovered: Stories of Jewish Chicago, was on public view in the windows of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s headquarters at 30 S. Wells Street.

The story of Jewish communal life in Chicago began in the 19th century, with the growing community building institutions to care for its needy, ill, orphaned, and aged, and to benefit the general public. These early settlers established a pattern that continues to this day, when Chicago’s Jewish population of more than 270,000 benefits from a sophisticated network of organizations addressing material, social, health, religious, and educational needs.

“There could be no better place to spotlight this proud history than in the window of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago,” says Spertus Curator Ilana Segal, who researched and selected materials from the Spertus collections for the display. “JUF is Chicago’s largest Jewish philanthropy and has been a key agent for improving the quality of Jewish life in Chicago for more than 100 years.”

Fifty reproductions of archival artifacts were shown in enlarged format photographs and video, with corresponding information about highlights of Chicago’s Jewish history, presenting a “window” into the significance of our city’s Jewish community. These included:

• 1845 document about Chicago’s first Jewish cemetery
• 1895 commemorative pendant from the Knights of Zion
• 1903 photograph of a cooking class at the Chicago Hebrew Institute
• 1924 photograph of graduating class of College of Jewish Studies, predecessor to Spertus
• 1948 photograph of Chicago’s Celebration of Israeli Independence
• 1971 photograph of The ARK from the year of its founding
• 1998 photograph of Walk with Israel celebrating Israel’s 50 years of statehood

Uncovered & Rediscovered: Stories of Jewish Chicago is an exhibit series that explores the Chicago Jewish experience. Through 2012, the exhibit unfolds in a series of intimate chapters, each on display for several months in the ground floor vestibule at Spertus, Chicago’s center for Jewish learning and culture, at 610 S. Michigan Avenue. Uncovered & Rediscovered uses Spertus’ rich and varied holdings to tell tales of Chicago’s Jewish pioneers and politicians, artists and anarchists, authors and entrepreneurs, and even Jewish boxers. This ongoing exhibit is free and open to the public, 10 am- 5 pm Sunday-Thursday.

Visitor Info

Visitors were able to see the display in the windows of Jewish United Fund at 30 S. Wells Street, Chicago, IL.