CARA Members Meet at North Shore Congregation Israel and Discuss Chicago Collections

The main sanctuary of North Shore Congregation Israel was designed by
Minoru Yamasaki. Photograph by Audra V. Adomenas.

On Thursday, May 31, 2018, CARA members and others met at North Shore Congregation Israel (NSCI) in Glencoe, Illinois, for a tour of the buildings and the Ruthie and Bill Katz Archives. Merle Branner, Archivist at NSCI, gave a fantastic behind-the-scenes tour of the main sanctuary designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center in New York City. She also showed the Tross Family Educational Center, the Goodman Center for religious education, and the Perlman Sanctuary.

Merle Branner, Archivist, shares the history of NSCI's main sanctuary with the tour participants.
Photograph by Audra V. Adomenas.
Merle Branner (right) and her assistant Ellen Katz Block open the ark in the sanctuary to show the Torahs.
Photograph by Doris Cardenas.

Merle Branner then led the group to the basement level where the Ruthie and Bill Katz Archives is housed. Like many religious archivists, Merle operates her archives with minimal resources but with a great deal of passion and expertise. The archives holds the historical records of NSCI since its founding as the "North Shore Branch of Sinai Congregation" in 1920 and includes materials from Rabbis and Cantors, Board of Trustees, Men's Club/Brotherhood and Sisterhood/Women, members' World War II memorabilia, and much more.

The Ruthie and Bill Katz Archives and processing room at North Shore Congregation Israel.
Photographs by Doris Cardenas.

After Merle's tour, the group convened for a brief CARA business meeting and to hear a presentation by Jeanne Long, Executive Director of Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC). The goal of CCC is to preserve and promote Chicago history and culture and to unite the resources of its member institutions to offer open access, learning experiences, and research opportunities to the general public, educators, and scholars. Membership in CCC offers the obvious benefit of being able to upload your content to the Explore portal, but it also grants entrĂ©e to a dedicated and experienced volunteer community.

Jeanne Long, Executive Director of Chicago Collections Consortium.
Photograph by Merle Branner.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this wonderful afternoon: the attendees, our hosts Merle Branner and North Shore Congregation Israel, and Jeanne Long of Chicago Collections Consortium.