The Jewish News of Tidewater has been covering events and providing perspective for the southern Virginia Jewish community since 1947 – the year before Israel was declared a state. The newspaper’s bound volume archive was filled with history but the books were under threat. The paper’s long time book reviewer Hal Sacks was devastated to discover that people had ripped pages out of the volumes. Editor Terri Denison decided to keep the books locked away to protect them but that also meant no one could access them.
Hal couldn’t let it go. The bound volumes had to be digitized to preserve the content and make them accessible and searchable for the community. But how would they afford it?
A former sailor in the Navy, Hal set out in 2013 to come up with a solution and he didn’t have to look far. Thanks to Hal’s Navy and a community eager to have history at its fingertips, today the archive is scanned and available to everyone online. The success surprised everyone including Hal, “What surprised me most of all is that I got thousand dollar checks from people we hadn’t heard from in ten years.”