Jewish American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month was formally recognized in 2006 and pays tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who have helped form the fabric of American history, culture and society. A listing of national exhibits and collections can be found on the Jewish American Heritage Month website.
On the local front, there are a variety of materials found within UTSA Special Collections that document Jewish life in San Antonio, including oral histories, photographic materials and manuscript collections.
The Institute of Texan Culture’s extensive oral history collection contains several interviews with Jewish Texans, including Tillye Hahn Adler. Ms. Adler was born in San Antonio in 1894 as the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who peddled goods on foot for years before opening San Antonio’s finest grocery and delicatessen. In the interview, Adler tells of her life in the food business. She married groceryman Benjamin Adler and the couple took over her parents’ business and continued catering to the most socially prominent San Antonio families of the early 1900s.
The 4 primary photograph collections include over a 150 images documenting Jews and Jewish life in Texas. Quite of a few of the images concern San Antonio’s Temple Beth-El, which was founded in 1874 and is one of the oldest synagogues in South Texas. The digital repository includes several images of the Temple, as well as portraits of 19th century temple presidents and rabbis from 1897-1976.
From collecting efforts that were part of Archives for Research on Women and Gender project in the 1990s, Special Collections maintains several manuscript collections that document Jewish women’s organizations, including:
- Bella Glasberg Papers regarding San Antonio Jewish women’s organizations, 1936-1972 – Bella Glasberg was an active member of several Jewish women’s organizations in San Antonio.
- National Council of Jewish Women, San Antonio Section, Records, 1907-2006 – dedicated in the spirit of Judaism to furthering human welfare in the Jewish and general communities on a local, national and international level.
- San Antonio Chapter of Hadassah Records, 1921-2011 – a non-profit Zionist organization supporting the improvement of health services in the Jewish homeland of Israel.
- Esther Vexler Papers, 1950-2008 – Esther Vexler did volunteer work with Jewish charities and was the first female president of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.