"Scudder" (left) and Bernard Gorfinkle (right) writing a letter home from Plattsburg, New York, before shipping out to France,
August 5, 1917.
“I feel proud that I was among the first to come over [to fight in France]. See what it will mean when I am old and gray and tell all my grandchildren about the War of 1917.”
Recognizing that his military service in World War I made him an eyewitness to history, 28-year-old Bernard Gorfinkle began recording his observations and experiences in Europe during the war, not just for his friends and family back home in the United States but also for posterity.
As an archive, the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center (JHC) asks you to see yourself as a chronicler of history, too—to help capture and preserve the unprecedented, history-making COVID-19 era for the future.
You can choose journaling, art, film, photography, or oral history, or any other form to represent your experience, and your submissions to the archive can be digital or physical. Whatever medium it is, your record of this time will be invaluable to the historians—and generations—of tomorrow.
The JHC welcomes observations, reflections, and artifacts about this time from New England Jewish individuals, organizations, and communities, which together will create an archival collection that will benefit historians of the future. We invite your submissions!
Some ideas for your submissions include:
- Journal entries reflecting on your unique experiences during this time
- Paintings, drawings, and other artwork
- Oral history interviews with family or friends documenting their experiences
- Poetry or other writings
- Tweets, TikTok videos, or other social media posts
- Graphic novels or comic strips that you created
- Photographs of your impromptu work-from-home or school-from-home work spaces
- Zoom seders, b'nai mitzvot, or other recorded Jewish life cycle occasions
- Correspondence, media, or photographs showing the impact on your Jewish life
- Grocery lists or receipts
- Any other materials—physical or digital—that document your experiences
We have put together some prompts that may help you get started. While these have been developed with journaling/writing in mind, feel free to process your responses through any medium!
There is no deadline for submitting responses; whether it is tomorrow or in a year from now, we welcome yours any time.