Jewish community of Biddeford-Saco.
This section of the Documenting Maine Jewry project has information on the communities of Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Saco.
The coordinators of this site are Jennie Aranovitch and Beth Strassler. They
would welcome additional photographs, documents and oral histories sent to them at dmj @ mindspring.com
All the dropdown menus above display data for just Biddeford-Saco
Local Jewish Organizations
Brief History of Biddeford-Saco Jewry
DATABASE RESOURCES : Information is available today on
- 454 individual Jews with strong ties to Biddeford-Saco of which 66 record the Old Country origin of first generation immigrants
- 144 records of burial in Jewish cemeteries for which there are 93 headstone images
- 38 organizations important to the Biddeford-Saco Jewish community of which 5 are Jewish community institutions and 26 are businesses important to the Biddeford-Saco Jewish community
- 45 bibliographic citations and sources pertaining to Biddeford-Saco of which 15 are photographs and 2 are oral histories
Recent additions to the Documenting Biddeford-Saco Jewry database include
- The Wafting Scent of New York Deli Reaches Maine (Biddeford) - Kathy Gunst Forward - the Newspaper
- Interview with Jeff Nathanson (Biddeford) - Mike Hastings George J Mitchel Oral History Project, Bowdoin College
- Arnold-Shapiro - obituary (Biddeford ) - Portland Press Herald
- Edward Shible- obituary (Biddeford ) - Portland Press Herald
- Everett Stiman - obituary (Biddeford ) - Portland Press Herald
- Jerry Slivka- obituary (Biddeford ) - Portland Press Herald
- Five women from the Aranovitch family and a friend (Biddeford) - Gloria Bailey
- Osherowitz Family Portrait (Biddeford) - Gloria Bailey
- Portrait of Ida Ginsburg Osherowitz (Biddeford) - Gloria Bailey
- Portrait of Lilly and Eva Aranovitch (Biddeford) - Gloria Bailey
- The Memories of Beatrice Espovich Cohen (Biddeford) - Beatrice Cohen
People The questions unavoidably arise: Who is a Jew? And who is a Mainer? On the former, the project takes no position. On the latter, we have used a broad definition including not only those who were born, grew up, or lived here, but also those who are buried here.
Organizations DBSJ is also building a community-based history around the religious and secular institutions that were or are the lifeblood of the Biddeford-Saco Jewish community – as well as the source of quite regular souris (headaches). The project is creating 'family trees' of those often-interconnected local institutions: some 180 Jewish service organizations, 94 Jewish religious bodies, 18 Chevra Kaddisha and cemeteries, 15 Jewish camps, and 240 businesses crucial to the economic survival of Maine Jews.
Places The state-wide database has information on Maine Jews from over 90 cities and towns . Users can seek information in a particular town or city or can select a wider area to search on the state map index . Each option allows users to find organizations and people either in these key cities/towns or by county.
Oral Histories The DWJ project is also collecting oral histories. Currently there are X oral histories by Biddeford-Saco-connected Jews.
Sources The Documenting Maine Jewry methodology is basically a jigsaw approach. We take whatever community, municipal, and cemetery records we have and merge them into a common database. As a result, we face problems of duplication and incompleteness. To minimize those problems, we try to name-match only when we have at least two factual sources for a given name. Ultimately, we feel it is better to have duplicate records than inaccurate information linking two unrelated people with the same names; Jews do love to repeat certain family names. In the name of historic accuracy, we ask families to supplement/correct their information using the on-line edit function on their page, or by emailing correct information to email@example.com.
For security reasons, complete access to the database is available only on request. A full index of all burials , however, is publicly available.
Volunteers The Biddeford-Saco Documenting Maine Jewry effort is largely a volunteer effort; we always welcome more help. Volunteers interested in photographing older Jewish headstones, collecting information on a particular town or organization, transferring data from print to electronic records, or upgrading software should email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finances Financial contributions supplement the volunteer effort by supporting data collection and outreach. DMJ is under the financial supervision of Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine(JCA), a 501(c)3 organization. Donations are welcome using the Tzedakah box below or by sending a gift (marked DOMJ) to the JCA, 57 Ashmont St., Portland, Maine 04103. Major donors can select a range of contributions to honor their own Maine immigrant family or to inspire and inform the next generation of Maine Jews.
Heart and Soul The core of the project is the addition of new information by Maine Jews, whether online through the website, by email, or by old-fashioned mail. We encourage all registered users to supplement or correct existing information on individuals using the edit function on each person's page. Historical documents, oral accounts, photographs of community activities, and print articles can be emailed to the site coordinators (see above). To get a mailing address, please email describing the materials you would like to share.
Last Updated : March 21, 2011
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