What constitutes Jewish cultural heritage? Books and works of art created by Jews at some moment in their long history? Ceremonial objects and Judaica they carried with them? Old manuscripts and religious scrolls with sacred writings and beautiful drawings? Ephemera and memorabilia of communities: photographs, postcards, letters, newspapers, journals and posters? And what about video and audio, from historic recordings to modern-day media?
All these and more make the rich tapestry of our cultural heritage, which many consider to be defining their Jewish identity. All over the world, cultural institutions – libraries, archives and museums – have collected and preserved heritage material for decades; they have compiled catalogues, curated exhibitions and started the important work of digitizing their collections for future generations. Now the technology is here which would make it possible to amplify this mission by exposing the collections to a worldwide audience, today and tomorrow. But institutions can't do it alone; their resources are limited and they work in isolation. A concerted digital agenda is needed.
DLJH is developing a new technological platform to aggregate and present content from partner institutions all around the world, in full respect of owner and access rights. Overlooked materials will come to life through engaging online storytelling using the latest web technologies. Everyone will be able to easily search, browse, zoom in, quote, comment, tag and share cultural treasures of every format in extraordinary detail, on computers and smartphones, in every corner of the world.
Our vision is to create a hub for creativity, inspired by Jewish heritage. DLJH will curate online galleries and exhibitions, offer tools to experiment with materials of our past and creatively reuse them, and allow for easy distribution of content to online magazines and social media – reaching new audiences and engaging younger generations.
The digital revolution is rapidly changing the way we work, study, consume culture and communicate; increasingly, we do these online. What remains unchanged is that Jewish cultural heritage is a central component of Jewish identity, too important to be left to decreasing museum visitors and library goers. The time is right for Jewish heritage to take a digital turn. This is DLJH’s mission: to serve a thriving, diverse, dynamic and global Jewish community by providing open online access to the wealth of heritage content and giving it center stage.
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