Jewish Archives of Chattanooga

Jewish Archives of Chattanooga (JAC)

The mission of the Jewish Archives of Chattanooga (JAC) is to document, collect, preserve and protect the records of the Jewish experience in the Greater Chattanooga, Tennessee region. It is a committee of the Jewish Federation.

The JAC acts as a repository and caretaker for archival material related to the Chattanooga regional Jewish community. It includes, but is not be limited to, records, documents, audio-visual material, and images and objects in original, digital or other duplicated formats.

The acquisition and documentation of elder culture bearers via video and other means while the transition committee conversations are ongoing.

Jewish Archives Committee:
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Joy Adams (Founder), Karen Diamond, Cora Feintuch, Irv Ginsburg, Wes Hasden, Louise Spector, Joel Susman

FEDERATION STAFF LIASON: Ann Treadwell (Federation Program Director)

Coming soon: oral history videos of Chattanooga community members.


The Jewish Archives of Chattanooga (JAC) is a committee of the Jewish Federation. It was founded by Joy Effron Abelson Adams with the assistance of her son, Richard Abelson, in the 1990s when she began collecting and organizing papers and other memorabilia of Mizpah Congregation and the general Jewish community. The collection was stored in her home.

On October 20, 1999, the Board of Mizpah Congregation recognized the JAC as an entity and agreed to house and fund the collection, naming Joy as Chief Archivist and Richard as Co-Archivist. The Chief Archivist is appointed as a member of the Mizpah Board at the discretion of the President. A small room at Mizpah was allocated to house the JAC collection, where it currently resides.

The collection consists of the minutes of Mizpah Congregation dating back to 1894; the sermons and other papers of long-time Mizpah Rabbi Abraham Feinstein; memorabilia related to Adolph Ochs and his brother, George Washington Ochs (first Jewish mayor of Chattanooga); events related to Mizpah; family histories from the community, print media clippings, and videotaped interviews of various members of the Jewish community; and old papers of Hadassah, Mizpah Sisterhood, and various other local Jewish organizations.

Since 2012 a committee has been organized and actively securing oral histories by videotape. Additionally, the JAC is trying to establish an archives committee at B’Nai Zion and has clarified the relationship with the Mizpah Archives Committee and the Mizpah Congregation. In the fall of 2013, Joy Adams resigned as Chief Archivist and Max Brener was named to succeed her.


#15: Izzie Furmin – Chattanooga Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Virgina Rader and Harold Shavin (r)