DAVAR: The Vermont Jewish Women’s History Project was inspired by the work of the Jewish Women’s Archives (JWA) of Brookline, Massachusetts, a national organization dedicated to documenting the life stories of Jewish women in North America.
Jews have had a presence in Vermont from Colonial times, and have had organized congregations and communities since the mid 1800’s. Some of the women we interviewed have roots going back to the very early settlers in the state, while others have arrived more recently. To share our project with the public, we have created an exhibit titled, To Life! A Celebration of Vermont Jewish Women.
Exhibit-goers will learn about the impact the women in our project had not only on the Jewish community but on their hometowns, the state of Vermont and the nation. Their life stories reflect a wide variety of interests, beliefs and occupations including government, education, political and social advocacy, farming, business, the arts, homemaking and religion. Visitors will recognize and appreciate the common circumstances and similar traditions of these women’s stories and their own lives.
The Vermont Folklife Center will archive our tapes, transcripts, and photos. These materials will be accessible for future research by families, scholars and historians.
The Paramount Theater, a non-profit performing arts organization in Rutland, Vermont generously donated space for our first exhibit in The Gallery at the Brick Box, a visual arts gallery adjacent to the box office of the theater. The Chaffee Art Center, a presenting sponsor of the exhibit, contributed volunteers and publicity. Our premier exhibit and associated programs ran from October 8–November 8, 2009. The first exhibit was very well received. The exhibit will be opening again at The Vermont Historical Society Museum in the Pavilion Building in Montpelier on January 14, 2010.
Visitors to the exhibit will view life stories presented on large panels comprising portraits by the photographer Karen Pike of Hinesburg, biographical excerpts, personal quotes, and archival photos. Contemporary works by Vermont Jewish women artists will round out the exhibit. Jane Krate Duda of Roaring Brook Design in Wallingford designed and edited the exhibit and its accompanying book, published by the Shires Press, Manchester, Vermont.
We would be happy to discuss our project and its many components in greater depth. If you are interested in hosting the exhibit, would like to purchase a book or would like additional information please call or email us.