About

The Stephen Spielberg Jewish Film Archive is the largest collection of Jewish documentary films in the world. The archive stores over 18,000 titles from different periods of history, from the time of the Ottoman Empire to this day. The archive contains titles in almost every visual format; this includes film, different types of video and digital files.

Amongst our various materials one can find rare documentation of Polish Jews on the eve of the second world war, the well-known film showing the foundation of the state of Israel and touching moments of Jews immigrating to Israel at throughout filmed history.

The films are preserved using a sophisticated climate control system and we are hard at work actively preserving the films. We also strive to make the films accessible by using digitation and uploading them onto the internet.

Our film collection is not only a beautiful and comprehensive reflection of the history of the Jewish people during the 20th century. It is also a sketch of the Jewish peoples soul as it was perceived through the camera lens.

Use of the archive’s material entails a fee. Below is the archive’s price list

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History of the Archive

About the Archive

 

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive was founded in the late 1960s by Professor Moshe Davis and other historians of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The first Director was the late Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder and the Archive originally bore the name of its first donor, Iranian-Jewish businessman Abraham F. Rad, who Provided his support for a number of years. In 1987 a generous donation was received from the American filmmaker  Steven Spielberg, after which the Archive was renamed after after him.

 At the Scopus Dinner held in Los Angeles in December 2000, the American Friends of the Hebrew University honored the late Jack Valenti, Former Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America. At the dinner it was announced that the premises housing the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive would be named the Jack Valenti Pavilion.

 

 In 1973 the World Zionist Organization (WZO) designated the Archive as the official depository of its films. Today the Archive is jointly administered by the University's Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry and the WZO. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) and the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA).

 In 1996 the Archive moved to a specially designed premises at the University's Faculty of Humanities.

 The Archive engages in many types of activities. Among these are lectures, film research, preservation of films in danger of decay, distribution, and digitization and accessibility.

 The Archive serves a wide audience: film producers and directors, researchers, educational purposes - students, lecturers at the university, schools, cultural centers, old age homes, and the general public interested in Zionism.

Supporters

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive Is a non-profit organization that is supported through donations and grants for its day to day operations. We could not do the important conservation and accessing work the archive performs without the generosity of our donors and supporters.

This part of the website is dedicated to our main supporters and provides information about them, their work and their relations with the archive. Moreover, this part of the website contains a list of the different grants, awards and honours the archive has received over the years.

Below is a short list of the donors who make the existence of the archive:

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg was born in December 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Arizona. A lifelong cinema buff, he began directing short movies while still a child, later studying film at California State University and winning notice for his 1968 short feature, Amblin.

His first feature was The Sugarland Express (1974), followed by the blockbuster Jaws (1975) which cemented his reputation as a rising star. He is best known for films such as ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and Schindler's List, which won 7 Academy Awards, among many others.

In the 1990s he founded Dreamworks Production Company together with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. In 1987 a generous donation was received from Steven Spielberg and the Archive was named in his honor in 1988.

Jack Valenti

At the Scopus Dinner held in Los Angeles in December 2000, the American Friends of the Hebrew University honored the late Jack Valenti, former Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). At the Dinner, it was announced that the premises housing the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive would be named The Jack Valenti Pavilion. Funds raised at this event were used by the Archive for making approximately eight hundred films accessible via the Internet.

Jack Joseph Valenti was born in Houston, TX in 1921. During WWII he was a pilot and commander of a B-25 bomber in the Army Air Corps and was honored with numerous decorations. After graduating from Harvard University, he co-founded the Weekley and Valenti advertising/political consulting agency eventually working on the staff for both Pres. John F. Kennedy and Pres. Lyndon Johnson.

In 1966, he was appointed President of the MPAA where he is best known as the man primarily responsible for the movie ratings system. He retired in March 2004 at the age 82.

Jack Valenti passed away in 2007.

Fritz Werner and Ursula Johanna Blumenthal

In 2009 an endowment fund in the name of Fred Werner And Ursula Blumenthal of Western Australia was established by estate trustee Mr. Stuart Silbert. The grant has enabled the Archive to gice scholarships to Hebrew University students so that could assist in cataloging information into archive databases. The student is also required to write a seminar paper on a subject related to the Archive.

The Blumenthal grant has also provided the Archive with the means to digitize U-Matic videos and to restore Zot Hi Ha'aretz (This Is The Land) and My People's Dream, a 1933 travelogue starring Yossele Rosenblatt.

Gerda Steinitz Frieberg

Gerda Steinitz Frieberg of Toronto, Canada, has generously donated funds to the Spielberg Archive for the transfer of an important film collection to videotape. In 1997 the Archive received nearly 400 films about the Holocaust from the Ghetto Fighters' House, one of Israel's major Holocaust research centers. The films were transferred to beta video for the Museum for use in their educational programming.

Mrs. Frieberg was born in Upper Silesia. She was deported to a ghetto in Poland in 1940 and sent to a concentration camp in April 1942. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in May 1945 and she then went to a displaced persons camp in Germany. Mrs. Frieberg now resides in Toronto and since 1962 she has dedicated herself to Holocaust education. She has been sought as a keynote speaker for Holocaust Memorial Day and other Holocaust events across Canada, the United States and Germany.

Among the many positions Mrs. Frieberg has held are the following: President of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Canada, and Chair of the Founding Committee of the Toronto Holocaust Education and Memorial Center.

Mrs. Frieberg has been the recipient of many awards including the Governor General's 125th Anniversary of Confederation Commemorative Medal, the Government of Canada Award recognizing Holocaust Survivors for their contribution to Canada, and B'nai Brith Woman of the Year, 1992.

Abraham F. Rad

The Archive was previously named after its first donor- Abraham F. Rad, an Iranian businessman. Rad was born Abraham Mizrahi in 1923 in Russia where he went into the corrugation business. He moved to Teheran, Iran, where he opened a very successful factory manufacturing corrugated boxes. He helped smuggle Jews out of Eastern Europe during the Holocaust.

Rad married and had four children and built a home in Savyon, Israel.

Abraham Rad was the financial backer for the 1969 film 42:6 about David Ben Gurion. He agreed to sponsor the Archive after an agreement was signed between the Hebrew University and the World Zionist Organization in 1972, making the Archive the official depository of the WZO, the Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod and Keren Kayemeth Leyisrael.

He also helped persuade Hazel Greenwald to deposit Hadassah films in the Archive.

Grants and Awards

1988 - 1994 - Mr. Moses Rothman of London made annual contributions to the Lyn Rothman Scholarship Fund, which he established for use in Spielberg Archive research projects.

1994 - The Israel Science Foundation awarded the Archive a grant towards the purchase of a new 16 mm editing table with built-in video transfer equipment. Matching funds for the $50,000 machine were provided by the Hebrew University's Faculty Senate Committee for Scientific Infrastructure.

1995 - The Archive received the Silent Film Festival Special Award from the Pordenone Giornate del Cinema Muto for its work in preserving and presenting Israel's silent film heritage. Funding for the book Israel Before Israel: Silent Cinema in the Holy Land , which accompanied the Archive's program at Pordenone, came from J. Paul Getty, KBE, and the Ben Eli-Honig Family Foundation.

1996 - Archive Technician Chaim Green's participation in the FIAF Summer School in Berkhamsted was assisted by a British Council scholarship from the British Israeli Arts Training Program.

1998 - The Archive was awarded one of the special prizes given by the Clore Foundation for Israel's 50th anniversary, enabling $50,000 worth of film preservation. Marilyn Koolik was the recipient of a British Council travel grant, which enabled her to oversee the beginning of this preservation work in London.

1999 - The Archive was the recipient of the fourth annual Haghefilm Award, valued at 10,000 euros (approximately $11,000 US), presented at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Sacile, Italy.

2000 - The Archive staff was jointly awarded the Hebrew University's prize for excellence.

2001 - The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation of New York awarded a grant towards scanning the contents of the Archive's David Matis Documentation Center for Jewish and Israeli Film.

2000 - 2004 – Funds from the estate of the late Shimon Orloff of Australia have enabled the Archive to annually send videotapes as Chanukah gifts to nearly 300 homes for senior citizens in Israel. The bequest is facilitated by Estate Trustee, Stuart Silbert. The 5 films chosen were: The Day Came , The Jews of Poland , The White City , Yaacov Ben Dov: Father of the Hebrew Film and Edge of the West .

2006 - The British Friends of the Hebrew University provided the funding for a HD/DV/DVCAM machine which has been attached to the Archive's 16 mm steenbeck table allowing the Archive to transfer films directly to a digital format.

2007 - The Righteous Persons Foundation has continued its matching support of the Archive. The Archive has received a generous three year grant enabling it to continue its activities. Yossi Halachmi has written a book Ruach Raanana about Theodore Herzl's Dream to film Palestine. The book is being printed by Carmel Publishing.

2011-2012 Thanks to generous grants from the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany, the Archive was able to digitize films relating to the Holocaust.

2012 - The Archive digitally restored My People's Dream thanks to a generous grant from the Mifal Hapayis Arts and Culture Council.

Staff

 

Deborah Steinmetz, Director and Client Services Librarian. Joined the Archive in 1994. Deborah Steinmetz is the Director, Client Services Librarian of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. She holds a BA in Communications Sciences from Queens College, City University of New York and a degree in Library Sciences from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She did an online correspondence course on the preservation of audiovisual collections from the University of New South Wales and participated in the International Federation of Film Archives restoration summer school in Bologna, Italy.
Tel: 02-5881511
deborahst@savion.huji.ac.il

                        

Chaim Green, Technician. Joined the Archive in 1995. Chaim received training at the FIAF Summer School in Berkhamsted, England under the auspices of the British National Film and Television Archive in 1996. In charge of the vaults, and making viewing copies.
Tel: 02- 5881510
chaimg@savion.huji.ac.il

 

Robin Zalben, Librarian.  Joined the Archive in 2005. She holds a BS from Ithaca College, and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin--MIlwaukee.  She is responsible for cataloging of films and the David Matis document collection.
Tel: 02-5881509
robinz@savion.huji.ac.il

Contact Us

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive is open, by prior appointment only, Sunday through Thursday 09:00-16:30.

The Archive's catalog is available 24 hours a day online.

Please feel free to contact the Archive for any comments, questions, or problems:

Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive 
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Humanities Building 
Mt. Scopus 
Jerusalem 91905 
Israel.

Tel: 972-2-5882513 
Fax: 972-2-5812061 
e-mail: jfa@savion.huji.ac.il