The history of Jews in Pittsburgh began in the 1840's with a small community of primarily German immigrants, whose first communal action was the establishment of a burial society. By the end of the Civil War, there were two congregations, Rodef Shalom and Tree of Life.
The German-Jewish community was already quite prosperous when Jews from Eastern Europe and the Russian Empire began to arrive in large numbers in the 1890s. The influx of Yiddish-speaking Jews lasted until 1920, when immigration laws became more restrictive. During this thirty-year period, the number of Jews in Pittsburgh and the region grew dramatically.
Just as this new wave of immigrants had begun to arrive, the first English-language Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Criterion, was established in 1895. This weekly newspaper published articles related to national and international political and entertainment news, along with information concerning local social and life-cycle events. In 1934, the American Jewish Outlook, which had offerings similar to those of the Criterion, began publication.
The two newspapers were published concurrently until 1962, when they were acquired by the United Jewish Federation and closed. An independent corporation, the Pittsburgh Jewish Publication and Education Foundation, was created and chartered with the purpose of publishing a new weekly publication to be known as the Jewish Chronicle. Since then, the Jewish Chronicle has been the newspaper of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, providing coverage of local events, international news, and organization and life-cycle events.
A set of weekly newsletters, published from 1926 to 1975, is included in this collection. These chronicle the evolution of the Young Men and Women’s Hebrew Association (YM&WHA) through its merger with the Irene Kaufmann Center to form the Y-IKC in 1960, and then to the renaming of the institution as the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in 1975. For more information about the YM&WHA, the Y-IKC, and the JCC, visit A Tradition of Giving: The History of Jewish Philanthropy in Pittsburgh. First named the YM&WHA Weekly, the newsletters were published from 1926 to 1962. After the merger forming the Y-IKC, the newspapers were renamed the Weekly, from 1962 to 1971, and, subsequently, from 1972 to 1975, called the Y-IKC News. With the renaming of the Y-IKC as the JCC in 1975, the newspaper became the Jewish Community Center News. For the purposes of this project, the newsletters are collectively referred to as the Y-JCC series.
Accessing the Collection
The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project brings together papers held by the Rodef Shalom Congregation, the Heinz History Center, and the Chicago Library of Pittsburgh.
1895 - 2010
The original publishers maintain all relevant copyrights to this collection. Users are responsible for obtaining required permission for reuse.
The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project is a collaboration of Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, the Rodef Shalom Congregation Archives, the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, and the Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh. Additional materials were loaned by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Generous financial support has been provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Philip Chosky Charitable Educational Foundation, and donations to Carnegie Mellon University in memory of Henry Posner, Jr.