Documenting American religion in a time of pandemic

Pandemic Religion: A Digital Archive collects and preserves experiences and responses from individuals and religious communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please share anything that bears witness to your personal experiences, or that documents the activities and responses of your religious community. We invite contributions from people of any religious tradition, community, or perspective.

For Religious Communities. How is your religious community or institution adapting and responding during the COVID-19 pandemic? Upload materials such as sermons, photographs, bulletins, audio recordings, or share links to websites, video, and the like. Contribute your materials ⭢

For Individuals. What is your personal story? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your religious beliefs and practices? Share a photograph, a screen shot, a video, or something else. Share your experience ⭢

Here are some ideas of what you could contribute:

  • Stories about how your religious practice has changed
  • Photos of you or your religious community practicing your religion
  • Communications within your religious community
  • Documents about decisions or changes your religious community has made
  • Links, recordings, or screenshots of religious practice moving to online spaces, such as video and social media
  • Stories about how you or your community is helping during, or being hurt by, the pandemic

If you have any questions, please contact us at pandemicreligion@gmail.com.

Recent contributions

  • Behind the Scenes of Filming a Digital Sermon

    Social media post by Rev. Mary Rodgers of Providence Presbyterian Church showing lights and cameras in preparation for filming a digital sermon.
  • Bible Study and Social Distance at Mclean Presbyterian

    Bible study group at Mclean Presbyterian practicing social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Response to Coronavirus Public Celebrations of Mass Diocese of Arlington

    November 13, 2020 Guidelines for mass for the Diocese of Arlington during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Breman Jewish Museum Rapid Response Collecting (American Jewish Life)

    The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, Georgia connects people to Jewish history, culture, and arts. It houses the Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Archives for Southern Jewish History, the largest repository of its kind in the region. In response to the pandemic, the Breman has made its wide range of offerings virtual and is seeking materials that document the resilience of the Jewish community in our times. Thank you for sharing your images, documents, and objects related to Jewish life in the American South during the pandemic.
  • L’dor Vador: Oral Histories of Resilience

    This project is recruiting and training young adults to conduct oral history interviews and working to identify members of older generations in the community to be interviewed in Atlanta. The project is designed in partnership with Repair the World and AgeWell. The first group of interviewees are Volunteer Museum Educators (trained docents at the museum). Interviews are conducted over video calls and will be processed and added to the museum's archives, which can be accessed online. Publicized through institutional channels (website, social media, email) and in the local Jewish news.
  • History is Now

    Guided by desire to preserve personal stories for historians of the future and for current processing of the pandemic's impact in the Jewish community. Currently collecting photos and screenshots; stories and poems; 2020-specific Haggadot; websites and email communications from synagogues, Jewish organizations, and other related institutions. Eventually interested in physical objects, including calendars, take-out receipts, "closed" signs, masks, and other items. Limited geographic scope to Maryland. Directed outreach to Jews of color, Jewish LGBTQ groups, and specific congregations across major denominations (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist). Publicized online through institutional email, website, and social media. Reaching out to local Jewish news and synagogue newsletters. Conducting digital workshops to facilitate the creation of written stories. Expanded focus of collecting effort to include experiences of protests for racial justice in Baltimore and around the state. Few submissions up to now, but expansion of staff and volunteer energy on this project is hoped to yield results through greater outreach efforts. Collecting digital material online through Google Forms and email.
  • Collecting These Times Oral History Project

    CAJM is providing training and technical support to members who are seeking to collect stories online through two efforts: utilizing JWA's Story Aperture mobile application to collect stories and a pilot project to utilize TheirStory video recordings from July 2020 to February 2021. CAJM is working with member institutions to identify contributors and community partners. Additionally, they are leading planning work on collecting digital images and material culture for member institutions. Publicized internally through website and email list.
  • COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

    Collection of latest guidance (including responsa on religious issues and statements on current events) from the Rabbinical Council of America. Numerous individual authors are represented in these documents.
  • COVID-19 Resources

    Curated list of resources including practical guides and spiritual resources regarding Jewish responses to Covid-19. Although not framed as an archival project, this list includes items submitted by individuals.
  • Beth Israel Covid 19 Archive

    Internally-focused collection of documents relating to Congregation Beth Israel and Covid-19. Limited in geographic scope and demographic scope to this Reform synagogue in Houston, Texas. Publicity is similarly limited to institutional channels. Collection in digital and physical formats includes all newsletters, communications to congregants, sermons, videos of virtual services, and community press relating to Beth Israel.
  • Toronto Jewry and the Coronovirus Pandemic: An Interview Project

    In contrast to archival collecting efforts, this project focuses on individual interviews from a selected group of individuals (spiritual leaders, community activists, educators, philanthropists, non-profit directors, and small business owners) about Toronto Jewish communal life and the social, cultural, and religious disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19.
  • Collecting These Times Oral History Project

    This project will provide a snapshot for researchers and future generations of what being Jewish in Oregon in 2020 was like—how we have collectively and individually experienced the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, struggles for justice, and the 2020 presidential election. As archivists, we know the value of oral histories and documentation of current events. We have had many requests for information about the 1918 pandemic in Oregon and we are sorry to say that we have no relevant archival materials. We are grateful to CAJM for this opportunity to create a robust repository of our community's experience—our goal is to capture 150 personal stories. Trained volunteers will work with staff to record online interviews with members of our community. Interviews will be approximately 40-60 minutes in length. We will be using the TheirStory video recording platform, which works much like Zoom except that it requires no prior knowledge or software from the person being interviewed. We are looking for Jewish community members of all ages and backgrounds to be interviewed, and we are hoping you might be interested in participating. If you are interested in being interviewed, please simply respond to this email and let me know.
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