The primary mission of the Judaica Sound Archives (JSA) at Florida Atlantic University Libraries is to collect, preserve, and digitize Judaica sound recordings from 1901 to the present. The JSA provides a unique scholarly resource for students, scholars and researchers. It also provides educational programming for the general public.
Located in the Wimberly Library at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton, Florida campus, the Judaica Sound Archives has grown, since its inception in 2002, into a major center for the collection and preservation of Judaica sound recordings. The JSA’s collection includes Yiddish theater, Israeli folk, cantorial, and Sephardic music. The JSA has created the largest and most comprehensive on-line digital collection of Judaica music and comedy in the world. Thousands of these sound tracks can be heard on the public website www.fau.edu/jsa.
Originally established as the Judaica Music Rescue Project (JMRP) in 2002, the name was officially changed to the Judaica Sound Archives (JSA) in 2005. Nathan Tinanoff served as founder and director until his retirement in September 2010. Early in 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Maxine Schackman, the Judaica Sound Archives became part of FAU Libraries’ larger preservation efforts for recorded sound. The Recorded Sound Archives at FAU Libraries (RSA) was created from FAU Libraries’ substantial holdings of recordings in the areas of Jazz, Judaica, and Early Americana.
The original mission was to create a “haven” for old Judaic 78-rpm recordings. In danger of being broken, lost or discarded, these recordings represented a unique historical and cultural legacy. Over the years the JSA has been able to bring tens of thousands of these recordings together under one roof at FAU Libraries. Using modern computer technology to inventory, digitize, and enhance sound quality, the JSA has created an accessible, useable resource of Judaic sound recordings.
After a while, the mission of the JSA was expanded so that it can now accept LPs, 45 rpm recordings, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes and CDs as well as 78 rpm recordings.
What’s in? What’s out?
We are often asked to describe the types of materials that are accepted into the collection. The JSA defines its collection criteria as any recording fitting into any of the three categories listed below.
- Sound recordings relating to the Jewish experience, regardless of language. Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino are the major languages currently represented in the collection.
- Instrumental pieces identified as relating to the Jewish experience or composed or conducted by a Jew.
- Sound recordings by prominent Jewish performers, composers or conductors, even if there is no clear “Jewish” content.
JSA Public Website
JSA’s website allows visitors to hear thousands of songs by scores of different performers in a non-downloading (streaming) audio format. Music collections on the website are primarily organized by performer or recording company label and are continuously being expanded and updated. All materials on the website are either in the public domain or appear by agreement with the copyright owner.
A listing of all playable songs in the following “collections” are available from a drop-down menu on the home page.
Cantorial Comedy Sephardic
Chassidic Holiday Yiddish
Individualized searches for specific 78-rpm recordings, albums (LPs, cassette tapes and CDs), and individual songs are also possible on the website.
JSA Research Station
The Judaica Sound Archives – Research Station (JSA-RS) was developed to specifically meet the needs of students, teachers and independent scholars. It is a unique academic resource that includes materials under copyright and is therefore restricted to qualified users only.
The Judaica Sound Archives Blog is edited by Dr. Maxine Schackman, Director of the RSA.
For further information call (561) 297-0080.