15 , 2001
Jewish-American Hall of Fame Becomes Division of
American Jewish Historical Society
Mel Wacks, Founding Director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame,
is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees of the American
Jewish Historical Society has voted to accept the Jewish-American
Hall of Fame as an operating division commencing July 15, 2001.
These two organizations, with similar goals, have worked together
over the years. The American Jewish Historical Society has supplied
copies of unique photographs from their collection that have aided
sculptors who created medals for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame
(i.e. for Commodore Uriah P. Levy and Emma Lazarus), and the Hall
of Fame has supplied medals which are used as major awards by the
Historical Society (i.e. the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award).
Michael Feldberg Ph.D., Executive Director of the American Jewish
Historical Society has expressed his hope that all of the Jewish-American
Hall of Fame medals will be placed on exhibit in the near future
in the Society's New York home in The Center for Jewish History
at 15 West 16th Street.
The American Jewish Historical Society was founded in 1892. Their
goal is "the collection, preservation, exhibition, publication,
and popularization of material of every kind having reference to
the settlement, history, and life of Jews on the American continent."
The Society sponsors numerous educational projects, including the
encyclopedic "Jewish Women in America" (1998), which contains an
entry on Olympic medal winner Lillian Copeland by Mel Wacks.
The Jewish-American Hall of Fame was authorized in 1969 as an educational
project of the Magnes Museum by its Director Seymour Fromer. Over
the next three decades, the project raised nearly $200,000 for the
Museum. However, the Museum's changing goals and its imminent merger
with the Jewish Museum of San Francisco led to an amicable separation
from the Jewish-American Hall of Fame. Present Magnes Museum Director
Susan Morris and JAHF Director Mel Wacks expect to continue their
friendship and work in behalf of their mutual interests (i.e. the
Mel and Esther Wacks Educational Fund).