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About Us

The Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County (formerly the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Stamford) which celebrated its 25th anniversary in May of 2009, is an organization whose mission is: To be our communities' resource for discovering, explaining, preserving, developing interest in, and enjoying Jewish history of our region and elsewhere.

We envision ourselves as a link in the continuity of Jewish life—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Our History

In 1982, a group of Stamford residents perceived the need for a Jewish Historical Society and met on September 20 at the Jewish Community Center on Newfield Avenue to organize the Society.

A formal meeting was held in October 1983 at the JCC to institute the Stamford Jewish Historical Society, to “collect, preserve, research, record, exhibit, and publish the story of the settlement of Jews in the Stamford area from colonial days through the 20th century,” and when the Certificate of Incorporation was approved by the Secretary of the State of Connecticut on March 13, 1984, the Society was officially born. The eight original incorporators were: Irwin J. Miller, Cherri Sherman, Larry F. Ginsberg, George Goldberg, Shirley Diamant, Ronald Marcus, Bert Spelke, and Barbara Hotz. Ruth Spigel was later elected to the first board, making a total of nine persons.

The name of the organization was changed in 1996 to The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Stamford to include the surrounding towns. Then, in June 2003, the name was further changed to The Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County (JHSLFC) to be more inclusive and to reflect all of the communities which it now encompasses: Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Pound Ridge, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, and Weston. At about the same time, the Norwalk Jewish Historical Society was merged into the JHSLFC.

Items that some people may consider unimportant or just plain junk can be vital information to the ever increasing knowledge of how Jews in these communities settled, lived, worked, and began to experience “The Golden Medina” in a strange land in a strange new language. Old photos, documents, letters, diaries, oral histories, and congregational and organizational records have a bearing on life in the above communities in days gone by.  These are carefully entered into the files and computer databases by the volunteer archivists at the JHSLFC's Archives, and are valuable resources to students and other researchers.

The Harry Rosenbaum JHS Judaica Library, housed at the JCC, is filled with material about our Jewish past and present. Staffed by JHSLFC volunteers, the Library sponsors monthly book talks as well as serving the needs of educators, students, researchers, and people interested in books focused on our Jewish heritage. In November 1995, the Holocaust Memorial Committee of Stamford conveyed the library to the Jewish Historical Society, endowing the Society not only with a first rate collection of Judaic but also with a comprehensive collection of Holocaust Literature.

Trips to places of historic Jewish interest and free monthly lectures bring to members and their guests a global Jewish prospective, enhancing our understanding of the past, the present, and preparing us to face the future.

Biennial Heritage Awards