Sukkot at the HIAS Shelter in NYC

What was it like for newly arrived refugees to celebrate Sukkot in freedom in America?

The HIAS photo collection contains one folder labeled Succoth. Inside are these three 8 x 10 prints depicting Sukkot preparations and celebrations, probably at the HIAS shelter at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. Unfortunately, there are no dates on the photographs, nor any other descriptive information, but they appear to be from the late 1940s or early 1950s. HIAS used images such as these in publicity materials and publications such as annual reports.

The HIAS photo archive of 20,000 images has been digitized and will be fully searchable from by the end of 2018.

Chag Sameach from AJHS.



Carolyn Agress served as the Director of Membership Services at HIAS beginning in 1989. She coordinated membership campaigns, working with board members to solicit contributions, and overseeing the details of multiple campaigns per year. These donations represented a key component of the organization’s budget.

Letter of Carolyn Agress, Director of Membership Services and the Women’s Division, HIAS. March 6, 1991.

This Yom Kippur, those of us working on the HIAS processing project take inspiration from Carolyn, whose integrity and professionalism shine clearly through the records.

Yom tov.