Jewish Educational Media (JEM) is a unique not-for-profit audio-visual archive, production facility, and resource center located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.
JEM houses a world class archive, comprising of thousands of hours of film, videotape, audio, and hundreds of thousands of photographs documenting the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and the visual legacy of the seventh Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, who led the movement from 1951 until his passing in 1994. Under his leadership, Chabad-Lubavitch transformed itself from a small movement devastated by the Holocaust to a worldwide community which helped shape the agenda of world Jewry.
Over the years JEM has produced diverse types of high-quality educational productions. Documentaries and educational videos were released in a style similar to that of PBS programs. Today, a team of fifteen producers, video editors and researchers works full-time in JEM’s production effort. Avid Media Composer suites joined together by an Avid Unity round off a full professional production house.
In 2004, Jewish Educational Media recognized that precious archival materials were at risk of being ravaged by the test of time. The threat of media degradation, which looms over historic collections the world over, forced the organization to make a significant shift. It launched a massive undertaking: to gather, restore, preserve, and provide access to its legacy collections.
JEM’s ambitious goal of building a world-class archive, while continuing to maintain the pace of its ongoing educational releases was massively expensive, but also stunningly successful.
Millions of young Jews are waiting to be inspired, and to be taught about their heritage. The Rebbe has inspired hundreds of thousands of people who, in turn, have changed the face of Jewry. Today his recordings continue to inspire so many millions more, through the miracle of technology.
JEM is constantly adding new innovative gateways online, to access the recordings, and to enable the wider world to learn and be inspired by the timeless messages from the Rebbe.
The Living Archive Restoration Project
In 2004, facing the threat of losing its priceless archival collections to the ravages of time – a hazard faced by every archival facility – JEM decided to make this significant shift. Recognizing that the priceless visual legacy of this most important post-holocaust force – a Jewish movement and its revered leader – were in peril, the decision was made that the archive must be conserved at all cost.
Thus, a massive undertaking was launched: The Living Archive Restoration and Preservation Project, with the mission of gathering, restoring, preserving, and providing access to the motion-picture, audio, and photographic records of the Rebbe.
Today, the Living Archive contains a trove of priceless images and sounds spanning ninety years, providing a unique visual record of a dynamic community. Over the past decade, The Living Archive has conductedan organized effort to acquire and consolidate collections within our subject area.
To the millions who have been touched by the Rebbe or by his thousands of emissaries across the globe, this collection serves as an important and historic resource of learning and inspiration, conveying a message of steadfast adherence to Torah-true Judaism while embracing every person, regardless of his level of religious observance..
To outside scholars studying the Chabad-Lubavitch movement or the Rebbe the archive contains primary documentation of a quintessential American narrative – a movement on the run from persecution, planting itself in Brooklyn, New York; laying down roots, and eventually, thriving and reaching out across the world. The collections are a treasure trove with strong humanities content in the areas of history, religion, storytelling, music, and dance.
Thanks to JEM’s work, two decades after the Rebbe’s passing, a remarkable phenomenon continues to unfold: for the first time in world history, the teachings of a Jewish leader are accessible through photography, audio and video, and continue to be exhibited and studied after his passing.