Digital History of the Jews of Boston (DH Jews of Boston) is an accessible and interactive resource for exploring Boston’s Jewish history. The projects to come out of DH Jews of Boston all highlight the ways in which the history of the Jews in Boston is intertwined with that of many other communities in the city. All of the projects on this site have been created–from design to execution–by Northeastern University students.
In the fall semester of 2020, the four students in our intimate inaugural class of HIST 2430, Digital Histories of Ethnic Boston, spent the semester learning to use a range of DH tools and about the history of the Jews and other communities in Boston. These students developed two interactive mapping projects: Harrison Beiser ’21, Kayla Lavelle ’20, and Shira Weiss ’22 developed a digital story-map to guide readers through shared Jewish and black space in Boston; Jasper Trouerbach ’20 used data on the founding, closing, and consolidating of synagogues to create visualizations tracing communal migration within neighborhoods in and around Boston in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the spring semester of 2021, Nate Gillin ’23, a student in HIST 1294, Jews in the Modern World, built a digital story-map narrating the history of Boston’s Jewish Advocate through relevant city landmarks.
Follow the links to the projects below:
Boston’s Jewish Advocate: A Visual History of a Publishing Landmark is an interactive digital story-map tracing the 118-year story of the longest continually publishing English-language newspaper in America.
Mapping Shared Spaces: A Visual History of Boston’s Black and Jewish Communities is an interactive digital story-map exploring sites of shared significance–though often different use or meaning–for black and Jewish communities.
Shifting Neighborhoods: How Boston’s Jewish Communities Moved, 1850-2000 uses historic synagogue addresses as data points to track and visualize the internal migration of Jewish communities in and out of the city over a 150-year time span.
As a continuing project, my hope is for DH Jews of Boston to build and expand its exhibits in breadth and depth by continuing to use student creativity in future classes. In the meantime, I hope you’ll agree that our first projects are a wonderful public resource.
Department of History and Center for Jewish Studies, Northeastern University College for Social Sciences and Humanities
Photos by Shira Weiss and Simon Rabinovitch.