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16 January 16 • 2014
of mind with
History from page 14
dates from 1901. It's an instructional
manual given to ladies of the Beth El
Relief Society so they could teach new
Americans to sew and find employ-
* AS OF 1-12-14
*As OF 1-12-14
Into The Future
The archives have faced some challeng-
es over the years, said Alterman, includ-
ing funding shortfalls that twice neces-
sitated a cut in services. An endowment,
established in the early 1990s, will help
provide consistent support.
Computer technology has brought
benefits and challenges. On one hand, it
has made storage and retrieval of docu-
ments much easier.
"The fact that a researcher can sit
at a desk in Australia and determine
that there is a document in the Sinai
Hospital collection that they would
like to have scanned is quite different
from previous research procedures:'
On the other hand, she's concerned
that information stored "in the cloud"
may not be available to future research-
ers. "In a paperless culture, we need to
ensure that important documents are
not lost. Remember that pattern book
from 1901? The pages are still intact!"
Another challenge is keeping the col-
lection up to date. "New materials are
always being created," she said. "We've
established a cycle of going back every
10 years to update what we've already
Alterman said she's happy that her
successor, Robbie Terman, who previ-
ously worked at the Walter P. Reuther
Library and Cranbook, is interested in
publicizing the work of the archives.
Many in the community aren't aware of
the treasure trove we have, she said.
Alterman has been married for 50
years to Mickey Alterman, owner of
Flooring Warehouse in Warren. They
have two sons.
Eddie of Franklin is editor of Car
and Driver magazine. He and his wife,
Kari, director of the American Jewish
Committee in Detroit, have two daugh-
Aaron, who is in the flooring business
like his father, lives in New Orleans with
his wife, Caroline, a surgical nurse, and
Detroit is one of the few Jewish com-
munities to have an archive, Alterman
says, though several cities have Jewish
historical societies or museums. She
says she will continue to promote a
Jewish museum in Detroit
"We are unique in the country:' she
said. "We are exceptional in the services
we offer and the leadership that has
emerged. I would love to see a museum
of Detroit's Jewish history evolve here.
We have a proud story that should be
told in a concrete way:' ❑