The Arizona Jewish Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of Arizona's Jewish communities and educating the public about the Jewish contributions to Arizona and American life. To achieve these goals, we maintain a community archive with over 50,000 photographs, documents, and other memorabilia, and have recorded and transcribed over 250 oral and video histories. The Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, which interprets the Arizona Jewish experience for people of all faiths and ethnicities, is located in Phoenix's first synagogue. The 90-year-old building was recently restored and includes a museum gallery and a rental space for special occasions, and is home to the AJHS's archives and programs.
The photographs in our collections depict all aspects of Jewish life in Phoenix, including religious celebrations, cultural and social events, and political and business figures. Pictures of special occasions such as weddings, graduations, and bar and bat mitzvahs are also part of our collections. Many of the photographs commemorate milestones such as newly built temples, Jewish Community Centers, the Valley's first Jewish day school, or the first meeting of the Jewish Women's Federation. There are also photographs of members of the community in many facets of everyday life. Together, the pictures document the evolution of a community; they offer a look at the changes, achievements, and progress of the Phoenix Jewish community over the years. The photos displayed as part of the Arizona Memory Project website represent a small sample of a much larger collection. In organizing this display we tried to represent a cross section of community life exhibiting as many different organizations and individuals as possible. Additionally, we aimed to present photographs from all of the decades within the collection.