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"378 Campaign" Digitization Update


Dear Friends of AJHS,

We are excited to update you on our work as we embark on digitizing 37,800 pages from our archive in 2022. We met our $37,800 goal following the launch of our “378 Campaign" in December and are poised to succeed and exceed our digitization goal this year! We are immensely grateful for our friends’ support of the 378 Campaign, 2021’s Giving Tuesday Campaign and AJHS, overall. Through your generosity, we are able to shine a light on many important details of American Jewish History that are frequently overlooked. Within our archive are letters, diaries, financial ledgers, photographs and more, all of which provide color, context and richness to history. Providing access to our archive for all, via digitization, is a big step toward ensuring that American Jewish history is reachable, teachable and well understood. We are proud of this meaningful work.

One of our significant projects this year is digitizing portions of the Klinghoffer Family Papers, donated by Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer in 2015. The Klinghoffer Family papers primarily document the 1985 Palestinian Liberation Organization’s hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship. During the hijacking, WWII Veteran Leon Klinghoffer was the first to be executed. His tragic murder caused a ripple of political outrage and led to the Klinghoffer’s successful lawsuit of the PLO, establishing the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 and the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation, still serving to combat terrorism.

Following the family’s tragedy, many people of note, including Bela Abzug, Mario Cuomo and Ronald Reagan, reached out to the Klinghoffer family offering messages of condolence and support, and these important documents are preserved within our archive. Linked here and included below is a copy of a Presidential Message sent to the widowed Marilyn Klinghoffer from Ronald Reagan in October of 1985. He assures her that all measures possible will be taken to bring justice to her late husband, applauds her bravery and wishes her husband’s memory be a blessing.

These items representing difficult history are important to examine, as the events they speak for help people understand broad history, and how and why relationships and institutions exist as they do. We thank you again for your partnership in preserving and digitizing them, and will continue to update you on our progress throughout 2022.





Gemma Birnbaum, Executive Director