IJHS History

Picture of the First Executive Director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, Joe Levine

“Young People should know of the many contributions Jews have made to America and Jewish Life” -Joseph Levine, first Indiana Jewish Historical Society Director

A Brief Timeline of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society

  • 1967: In Elkhart, Indiana, at a Winter Board Meeting of Indiana State B’nai B’rith, President Morris Polis proposed the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. The proposal was passed, and responsibility for its implementation was handed to Indiana State Executive Director of the ADL Robert Gordon.
  • 1972: The IJHS was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • 1972: Joe Levine became the first Executive Director.
  • 1992: Eileen Baitcher became the second Executive Director.
  • 1999: The IJHS archival collections were donated to the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis.
  • 2002: The IJHS endowment was established.
  • 2016: The first annual Hoosier Jewish Legends Awards were held.
  • 2017: The IJHS office moved from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis.
  • 2017: Dr. Wendy Soltz became the third Executive Director.
  • 2018: IJHS Lifetime Membership was introduced.
  • 2020: Michael J. Brown becomes the fourth Executive Director.
  • 2021: IN-Jewish History Podcast launched.
  • 2022: The IJHS dedicated its first State Historical Marker to Holocaust-Era Humanitarian James G. McDonald.