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.