The story of the Jewish community in Ohio goes back over 200 years. Jews have lived here since the state’s creation in 1803 and their history is a fascinating one.

Ohio Jewish History collects and preserves primary sources concerning Jews in the Buckeye State. It offers a digital learning and teaching tool for students to engage directly with a wide range of primary sources: letters, newspaper articles, diaries, oral histories, and artwork.

Currently, Ohio Jewish History focuses on the history of Jews in 20th-century Ohio. Spend some time with our sources. Examine a photograph of a Cleveland demonstration against the Nazi persecution of Jews in Germany. Listen to an oral history from an immigrant who escaped the Nazi horrors and then settled in Ohio. Read a telegram concerning the “Goodyear Tire Plan” that delivered relief to refugees. Consider the sketch of a young woman depicting the reunion of parents after their separation.

At Ohio Jewish History, we have taken documents out of their original mediums in order to preserve and showcase their historical significance. We recognize that some sources contain or express offensive, outdated viewpoints, as well as antiquated language that is unacceptable by current standards. We do not endorse these viewpoints and ask that those exploring our collection study these documents within the appropriate context.

Who Are We?

Robin Judd (Faculty Lead) is Associate Professor of History at the Ohio State University, where she teaches classes in Jewish History, Holocaust Studies, Immigration History, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. The author of Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and the Making of German Jewish Political Life, 1843-1833, and several articles and book chapters, she is the recipient of seven teaching awards, most recently the Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award (2020), and two leadership awards. She has served as the Chair of the History Department’s Graduate Studies program and currently directs the History Department’s Hoffman Leaders and Leadership in History Scholars program. The Vice President for Programming of the Association for Jewish Studies, Judd also serves on the editorial board of the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook and on Academic Advisory boards for the Hadassah Brandeis Institute and the Leo Baeck Institute. She was previously the American Editor of the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, the Vice President for Publications of the Association for Jewish Studies, and the Co-Chair of the Race, Ethnicity, and Nation network of the Social Science History Association.

Macy Wade (Co-Director) is a graduate student at the Ohio State University pursuing a Master's Degree in History with specific interests in medieval history and public history. Macy is a member of the Zeta Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, an academic honor society that seeks to further the study of history in colleges and universities nationwide. While Ohio Jewish History is Macy’s first exposure to public humanities, she is excited to contribute to the project and gain valuable experience.

Katie Vela (Co-Director) received their Master's Degree in Public History with a minor in Nonprofit Management from OSU. They have worked on various public history projects in the past, and are currently conducting research for an article titled “Lasting Legacy: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Connection Between Slavery and American Colleges” which they plan to publish at the end of the 2022 summer. As an aspiring public historian, they are excited to have the opportunity to participate in the creation of an archive that will make Ohio Jewish History more easily accessible to the public.

Maya Goldenberg (Co-Director) is a senior History major graduating from the Ohio State University in May 2024. Her minors–City/Regional Planning and Development Studies–inform her focus on post-colonial history. She is passionate about using history to more deeply understand modern issues and hopes that her upcoming project with OJH will offer the public similar insight! As someone raised in the Jewish community, Maya connects with her Judaism primarily through learning. She is ecstatic that her interests of Jewish learning and history converge in her OJH project.

Carrie Esker (Project Manager) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History at the Ohio State University, where she also minored in Jewish Studies and Dance. Interested in public history, she has worked in several different public history settings, including the Ohio State University’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. Esker currently teaches Hebrew Language to elementary school-aged children and volunteers for the Westerville Historical Society.

Ohio Jewish History has received funding from the Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences, Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award.