Our Mission

The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center (JHC) at New England Historic Genealogical Society is a destination for exploring, preserving, and advancing the history of Jewish families, institutions, and communities in New England and beyond.

The JHC engages historians, genealogists, students, and the general public in the study and understanding of Jewish history and heritage. It does this through extensive archival collections, educational programs, exhibits, scholarship, and public events. It is the only historical center dedicated to, and specializing in, New England Jewish history.

The JHC has more than 2 million records in its archives, and nearly 700,000 searchable documents in its digital collections. These physical and digital collections are used by scholars, researchers, and institutions around the world. The JHC also offers educational programs and events about Jewish history and culture throughout the year at its Boston home, in the community, and online.

 

Our History

The JHC began as part of the American Jewish Historical Society and was formerly known as the American Jewish Historical Society–New England Archives (AJHS–NEA). In 2010, AJHS–NEA began a collaboration with the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). In 2015, the two entities formalized their partnership by creating the Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society, with a strengthened mission to enhance Jewish historical and genealogical research and to be a premier site for collection and preservation of Jewish history. In 2018, the center was renamed for Justin and Genevieve Wyner, in recognition of their longstanding support and advocacy.

Today, the JHC continues to preserve and maintain the AJHS–NEA collections while adding new collections to its holdings regularly.

 

Our Values

Defined by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center Advisory Council, 2020

Preservation. We are committed to collecting and preserving Jewish history, adhering to professional archival standards.

Access. We are a destination—in person and online—for people of all backgrounds and from all parts of the world to research and learn about Jewish history and heritage.

Engagement. We engage historians, genealogists, students, partner organizations, and the general public through programming and research to advance the study of Jewish history, culture, and legacies.

Collaboration. We are an archival and educational resource for other Jewish organizations and institutions, and an active partner in strategic programming and information-sharing.

Relevance. We develop programming and resources that make the history in our archives relevant to today and to people of all backgrounds.

Respect. Our work to enhance the understanding and accessibility of Jewish history and genealogy stems from our commitment to and respect for Jewish history, heritage, and tradition.

Excellence. We aspire to the highest work standards and professionalism. We achieve our mission by maintaining high-quality scholarship, scrupulously processed and preserved collections, and extensive expertise.