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Finding Aid for the Kadimah School of Buffalo Records, 1958-2009

MS 209

State University of New York at Buffalo. University Archives

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States
Phone: 716-645-2916
Fax: 716-645-3714
Email: lib-archives@buffalo.edu
URI: http://library.buffalo.edu/archives/

Finding aid prepared by Chana Revell Kotzin.
Finding aid encoded in EAD by Karen Spencer, March 2012.
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid prepared using local best practices.

The records of the Kadimah School of Buffalo were surveyed in 2009 with funding from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department. The arrangement and description of the collection was made possible, in part, by a second grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives in 2011/2012.

Please use the following URL when citing this document:

© 2011. State University of New York at Buffalo. All rights reserved.

Collection Overview

Title: Kadimah School of Buffalo Records, 1958-2009
Creator: Kadimah School (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Extent: 4.17 linear feet (3 cartons, 1 small box)
Language of Material: Collection material in English.
Repository: State University of New York at Buffalo. University Archives
Abstract: The Kadimah School of Buffalo Records describe the governance and activities of the school between 1959 and 2010 as well as pre-opening materials from 1958. The bulk of the material dates from between 1957 to 1989. The collection contains minutes and administrative papers, budgets, student and faculty related materials, publications and publicity materials.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Description and dates], Box/folder number, MS 209, Kadimah School of Buffalo Records, 1958-2009, University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo.

See the Special Collections' preferred citations instructions for additional information.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by the Kadimah School of Buffalo in July 2010. It consists of materials collected for a 50th anniversary project and a Documentary Heritage survey grant. The arranged and described collection was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections, by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in January, 2012. The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible. The records of the Kadimah School of Buffalo were first surveyed in 2009, which was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department. The arrangement and description of the Kadimah School of Buffalo Collection was also made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.

Terms of Access

The Kadimah School Buffalo Records, 1958-2009 are open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in th collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Processing Information

Processed by Chana Revell Kotzin, January 2012.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are expected to this collection.

Historical Note

The idea of a Jewish Day school was first formulated in 1957 by Dr. Nathan and Toby Ticktin Back, Rabbi and Mrs. Alvin Marcus, Dr. and Mrs. Henry Hausdorf who turned to Rabbi Isaac Klein (Temple Emanu-el) and Henriette Klein to bring it to fruition. By the time Kadimah School of Buffalo opened in September, 1959, with 15 students, it had a small and dedicated group of benefactors that offered financial support, including the Backs and the Kleins. These individuals were celebrated in 1965 as “Founders” and also included Joseph Sapowitch, Max Yellen, Abraham Carrel, Harry Dosberg, Paul Dosberg, Isadore Lansky, Joseph Palanker, J. R. Morrison, Irving Levick and Jacob Lansky. From the outset, the founders sought to create the first non-denominational all-day Jewish school for Buffalo, and this was reflected with the choice of a modern Hebrew name that did not have religious overtones. “Kadimah,” meaning “forward,” took its inspiration from the rising popularity of Hebrew language in the wake of a newly-created Israeli state. It also encapsulated the ethos of the founders’ hopes for the school: Forward looking, forward thinking and dynamic. The Kadimah School was incorporated on August 17, 1959.

Opening at the Jewish Community Center at 787, Delaware Avenue in the city of Buffalo, with Kindergarten and two grades, students at Kadimah studied in a bicultural environment with daily Hebrew instruction. Joseph Sapowitch, furniture dealer, (and simultaneously President of the Bureau of Jewish Education) was appointed first President of Kadimah. Toby Back served as President of the PTA and Max Yellen undertook to support the school's financial base in its early years. Kadimah stressed a community school model, open to all streams of Judaism, and a place that emphasized “respect for all interpretations of Judaism.”

In 1962, Kadimah relocated into homes at Temple Emanu-El on Colvin Avenue and Ahavas Achim on Tacoma Avenue. The first Principal, Rabbi Moshe Weisberger, appointed for the opening year, was replaced by Rabbi Morton Summer. More grades were added in each successive year and by the end of the 1960s, Kadimah offered Kindergarten through sixth grade. After initial debates within the Jewish Federation about financial support for Kadimah, the mid 1960s saw the beginning of Federation subvention that remains in place today. In 1961, the PTA instituted Annual Dinners, that enabled parents and supporters to follow school progress and access local, national and international speakers. Enrollment increases led to relocation to larger premises and in 1968 Kadimah moved into the suburbs into Temple Beth El at Eggert Road. By the late 1960s, 70 percent of all Kadimah students lived in the suburbs. Mr. Isadore Levy was appointed Principal in 1968.

By the end of the 1970s student enrollment exceeded 200 students, and Kadimah had to split sites again. The Kindergarten relocated to Shaarey Zedek while the main school remained at Temple Beth El. The 1970s was a period of other transitions too. In 1972 the school celebrated its “bar mitzvah year” (13 years), and “Kadimah Day” was proclaimed. In this same year, the first eighth grade class graduated. The 1970s saw the institution of “in-service” learning for teachers, and Kadimah teachers joined the New York State Teachers Federation, AFL-CIO. To honor Rabbi and Henriette Klein, the PTA created a library in recognition of their support of the school. Kadimah moved again in the 1970s into a building at 300 Fries Road made available by excess public school stock. In 1975, Hannah Kaminker organized the nursery school (later named the Pearl and Mel Siegel Nursery School). Rabbi Harvey Silberstein was appointed Head of School in 1978.

By the beginning of the 1980s, support by the Jewish Federation increased, as the school accepted an influx of Russian émigré students. Relocation was forced again, when the local school district recalled Fries Road and Kadimah moved into 250 Athens Boulevard. A year later, in 1985, Kadimah moves into One, Cambridge Road with the help of Buffalo Jewish leaders including Nathan Benderson who helped purchase the building. In 1988 Kadimah is rated “excellent” in the New York State Elementary School Recognition Program, and Kadimah teachers were recognized at the school's 30th anniversary the following year. Rabbi Silberstein was succeeded by Rabbi Aaron Fink as principal. Leonard Kaminker was the recipient of the first Keter Shem Tov in recognition of his work over the decades on behalf of the school.

During the 1990s, Dr. Irving Fried replaced Rabbi Aaron Fink as Principal. In 1991, Rabbi Isaac and Henriette Klein are recognized posthumously for their multiple roles as founders, mentors, teachers and supporters. Rabbi Barry S. Bank replaced Dr. Fried midway through the decade. Rivke Klein Berkowitz, daughter of founders, Rabbi Isaac and Henriette Klein, was appointed Vice-Principal in 1995. Kadimah’s 36th year coincided with another move into split sites, with the Lower School and Nursery School moving to Temple Shaarey Zedek and the Middle School making a home at the Jewish Community Center in Getzville. The later 1990s focused on long range plans for Kadimah and moving the school onto a firmer financial footing. A new Headmaster, Mark Stolovitsky was appointed at the end of the 1990s.

In 2001, the class of 1976 celebrated its 25th anniversary and Kadimah embarked on a major capital campaign headed by Dr. Charles Niles and Richard Zakalik to build a new unified home for the school. Mark Stolovitsky was succeeded by Jeff Shapiro in the middle of the decade. Efforts to raise money for the building of a new school continued with a significant donation by Dr. Sol Messinger, long associated with financial support of the school. In 2005, Kadimah moved into a permanent building, that was named the Sam, Paul and Sol Messinger Building in recognition of Sol Messinger’s support of the school. In 2007, Joel Weiss was appointed Head of School.

Scope and Content Note

The Kadimah School of Buffalo Records describe the governance and activities of the school between 1959 and 2010 as well as pre-opening materials from 1958. The bulk of the material dates from between 1957 to 1989. The collection contains minutes and administrative papers, budgets, student and faculty related materials, publications and publicity materials. The records are divided into six (6) series. There are respectively: Administrative Papers, Teachers and Students, Publications and Publicity, Programs, Photographs and Media. Many of the series are further subdivided into subseries that is detailed under Arrangement.

I: Administrative papers (1958-2009) consists of a wide range of records relating to the governance of the school that is grouped into subgroups. A small number of minutes are saved which include minutes for Board, Trustee, Education and other subcommittees. A brief history is included along with a copy of written recollections by a school founder, Nathan Back, in response to questions from a student researching the school’s origins. Series I also includes early correspondence materials by Nathan Back as he sought to establish the school and gain subvention from the Jewish Federation. Sources for a written constitution are collected alongside a printed version. During the 1970s, the Kadimah School of Buffalo recognized the Kadimah Teachers Association, NYSUT, NEA, AFT (AFL-CIO) as the exclusive bargaining agent for salaried classroom teachers. Agreement drafts and correspondence relating to the Association and Exchange Teachers hired from Israel are found in this subseries. Other materials include a parent manual, Kadimah image study for funding and relocation and site plans.

II: Teachers and Students (1970-2006) consist of personal correspondence from students to teachers, a single issue of Iton (Hebrew: Newspaper) produced by staff and students across the grades and two series of publications produced for and by the graduating eighth grade of the relevant year.

III: Publications and Publicity (1959-2009) consists of three subseries: Publicity materials and brochures (subseries A), and official publications – the Kadimah newsletter entitled HaKochav (The Hope) (subseries B) arranged by year with the Kadimah cookbook. Subseries C includes publicity materials in the form of submitted articles (press releases) as well as newspaper clippings over a 50-year period. The arrangement of all of the series is chronological.

IV: Programs (1962-2010). The largest grouping of materials is found in Series IV. Program activities are organized into two subseries. The first series (A) consists of a range of programs for which there are only limited copies. The Annual Dinner (Annual Ball or Dinner Dance) Ad Book started in 1960. Ad books in this collection date from 1962, the third year of the event and form a continuous unbroken series through 2009-2010. Program Ad Books for the Annual Dinner Balls contain a range of information. In addition to reproducing staff and student photographs for each grade, the Ad books include an annual letter from the President and Head of School that summarizes the year’s achievements, milestones, enrollment figures and future plans. Also provided are information about the year’s honoree, lists of staff, lists of committee members, board membership lists, annual member lists, among other factual information. The arrangement of subseries B is chronological.

V: Photographs (1979-2007). The arrangement of photographs is divided alongside size format (large, taken professionally) and informal shots (small size format). Informal photographs include various Jewish holiday observances and celebrations, field trips and class activities. Large photographic formats record official class photographs for each grade over specific years. The arrangement of the two subseries is chronological.

VI: Media (1989-2005) consists of various media including Betacam, VHS, CD and DVD. A CD, “Kadimah School Sings” includes a range of Hebrew and Jewish songs performed by the students at Kadimah as well as the Pledge of Allegiance and the anthem of the Unites States and Israel. DVDs and VHS include an informal film of first grade, Siddur presentations (annual event in the first grade) along with a community sing along (Zimria).

Container List

I.A.     History and Early Beginnings, 1989-2009
Box-folder Contents
Written History, 2009
Timelines, 2001 2009
Written recollections of Nathan Back, Founder, [copy], 1989
I.B.     Correspondence, 1958-2009
Box-folder Contents
Correspondence to Nathan Back, 1958
Correspondence to Nathan Back, 1959

[one letter dated 1960]

Correspondence to Nathan Back, 1961
Correspondence from Nathan Back, 1959
I.C.     Constitution, 1958-2009
Box-folder Contents
Research about various constitutions and related materials, 1959
Constitutions drafts, 1959
Constitution and By-Laws booklet, undated
I.D.     Reports, 1958-2009
Box-folder Contents
Correspondence with Jewish Federation about subvention, 1962-1963
Report on Kadimah (for Federation funding) by Nathan Back, 1965

[includes handwritten and typescript draft]

Reports - Annual, including budgets, 1965-1969
I.E.     Minutes, 1958-2009
Box-folder Contents
Minutes - First Annual Dinner Committee with attendee/invitation list, undated, circa 1961
Minutes – Includes Board and Trustee Minutes, 1975
Minutes –Includes Education Committee and Hebrew Subcommittee, 1965-1975
I.F.    Other Materials, 1958-2009
Box-folder Contents
Kadimah Teacher Association agreements and correspondence, 1974
Board, Committee, class and parent member lists, (incomplete), 1970-2009
Parent Handbook (2 copies, fragile), circa 1980s
Impact of Kadimah Students on Community, Summary, 1960s
Image/Attitudinal feasibility study for Kadimah School, 1999
Proposed JCC Kadimah School relocation site plan (not realized), 2001
Speeches, includes handwritten and typed, (no author listed, likely Nathan Back), circa 1970s
Headed notepaper and envelopes from Beth El site at 2368 Eggert Road, unused, 1970s
Box-folder Contents
1.25 Student correspondence to teachers, 1970s
1.26 Student-Teacher Newspaper, Iton (Hebrew: Newspaper), 1982
[2 copies]
1.27 Student Volume, HaKochav (Hebrew: The Star), 1986 2001 2006
1.28 Student produced books on their graduation, 1966 1967 1979
1.29 Yearbook, 2007-2008
III.A.     Publicity Materials and Brochures, 1959-2009
Box-folder Contents
Pre-opening literature, publicity materials, includes booklet draft and final copy, 1959
Publicity materials and leaflet, 1950s-1970s
Small publicity brochures, 1960s-1980s
Brochures with application materials, 2000s
Capital and Endowment campaign literature, includes circular letter, 2000s
III.B.     School Newsletter and Cookbook, 1998-2005
Box-folder Contents
School Newsletter, Hatikvah (Hebrew: The Hope), 1998-1999
School Newsletter, Donations for costs of Hatikvah, 1999
School Newsletter, Final Copies of Hatikvah, 1999
School Newsletter, Hatikvah materials, 1999-2000
School Newsletter, Hatikvah materials, and final printed copy, 2000
School Newsletter, Hatikvah materials, and final printed copy, 2001
School Newsletter, Hatikvah materials, and final printed copy, 2002
School Newsletter, Hatikvah, final printed copy only, 2006
Cookbook, A Taste of Kadimah, 2005
III.C.     Clippings and Press Releases, 1960s-2000s
Arranged by decade.
Box-folder Contents
Newspaper Clippings, 1960s
Newspaper Clippings, 1970s
Newspaper Clippings, 1980s
Press Releases, 1980s
Other publicity materials, 1980s
Newspaper Clippings, , 1 of 2, 1990s
Newspaper Clippings, 2000s
Newspaper Clippings, undated
IV.A.     Various Individual Programs, 1962-2010
Box-folder Contents
Graduation Program, 1966
New Building Reception Invitation, 2005
Assorted Programs sponsored by Kadimah, 1970s-2000’s
Annual Dinner Programs, 2005-2006
Annual Dinner Invitations, 2009
IV.B.     Annual Dinner/Ball, Ad Books, 1962-2010
One copy of each book unless noted and access photocopies of parts of program are included for some Ad books as provided by donor.
Box-folder Contents
Ad Book, 1962
Ad Book, 1963
Ad Book, 1964
Ad Book, 1965
Ad Book, 1966
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1967
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1968
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1969
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1970
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1971
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1972
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1973
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1974
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1975
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1976
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1977
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1978
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1979
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1980
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1981
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1982
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1983
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1984
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1985
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1986
(2 copies, access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1987
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1988
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1989
Ad Book, 1990-1991
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1991-1992
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1992-1993
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1993-1994
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1994-1995
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1995-1996
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1996-1997
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1997-1998
(access photocopies)

[Note cover has misprinted date as 1996-1997 in error]

Ad Book, 1998-1999
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 1999-2000
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 2000-2001
(access photocopies)
Ad Book, 2001-2002
Ad Book, 2002-2003
Ad Book, 2003-2004
Ad Book, 2004-2005
Ad Book, 2005-2006
Ad Book, 2006-2007
Ad Book, 2007-2008
Ad Book, 2008-2009
Ad Book, (50th Anniversary/Jubilee), 2009-2010
V.A.     Large Format Photographs, 1979-2007
Box-folder Contents
Class Photographs, Grade 2, 1979-1980
Photographs for Iton Newspaper, 1982
Student Photographs (Inter State Studio), Grades 1 through 8, Nursery 2, 3, 4, and Kindergarten, 2001-2002
Student Photographs (Inter State Studio), Grades 1 through 8, Nursery 2, 3, 4, and Kindergarten, 2002-2003
Student Photographs (Inter State Studio), Grades 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Nursery 2, 3, 4, and Kindergarten, 2005-2006
Student Photographs (Inter State Studio), Grades 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Nursery 2, 3, 4, and Kindergarten, 2006-2007
New Building Dinner celebration, 2005
Sol Messinger and others, undated
Black and White proof sheets, undated
V.B.     Small Format Photographs, 1996-2009
Box-folder Contents
Kadimah Students Celebrating Sukkot, 1996-1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 2, Mrs. Cohn’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Nursery, Mrs. Epstein and Mrs. Wehle’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Nursery, Mrs. Epstein and Mrs. Wehle’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 4, Mrs. Zotara’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Pre-K, Mrs. Golden and Mrs. Friedler’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 4, Mrs. Reden’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 3, Mrs. Recoon’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade K, Mrs. Schneider’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Mixture, Mrs. Plaut’s Class, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 1, Mrs. Merlin’s Class, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Faculty/Staff, Principal Mr. Stolovitsky, October 31, 1997
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Mixture, Mrs. Beck, Mrs. Golden, Mrs. Cohn, Mrs. Zotara, Mrs. Recoon, Mrs. Merlin and Mrs. Sheehan’s Class, March 8, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 1, Mrs. Merlin and Mrs. Mandel’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Nursery, Mrs. Epstein, Mrs. Wehle and Mrs. Himmelfarb’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade K, Mrs. Schneider’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Staff/Faculty, Mark Stolovitsky (Headmaster), Mrs. Cohn and Mrs. Sheehan, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 2, Mrs. Cohn and Mrs. DeSantis’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 4, Mrs. Zotara’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade 3, Mrs. Farkash and Mrs. Cowen’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Student Photos, Grade Nursery, Mrs. Golden and Mrs. Topel’s Class, October 29, 1998
Kadimah Israel at 50 Parade, 1998
[3 black & white photos]
Kadimah Various Photos/Events, 1998
Kadimah Martin Luther King Day Photos, 1998
Kadimah Annual Dinner Photos, 1998
Kadimah Box Tops Awards Photos, May, 1999
Kadimah Veteran’s Day Program at Essjay Photos, November 9, 2000
Kadimah Annual Dinner Photos, June, 2001
Kadimah Dedication Photos, October 23, 2005
Kadimah Empowering Youth Program, Camp Lakeland Photos, 2007
Kadimah Super Sunday Photos, 2009
Kadimah Welcome New Staff Photos, November 20, [undated]
Kadimah Field Trips Photos, undated
Kadimah Skits/Presentations Photos, 1 of 2, black and white, undated
Kadimah Skits/Presentations Photos, 2 of 2, undated
Kadimah Skateland Field Trip Photos, undated
Kadimah Various Photos/Events Photos, undated
Kadimah Field Trip to Becker Farm Photos, Grade 1, Mrs. Schneider’s Class, undated
Kadimah Event (Unknown) Photos, undated
Kadimah Critical Thinking Photos, Grade 1, Mrs. Schneider’s Class, undated
Kadimah Eighth Grade Graduation Photos, undated
Kadimah Dinner Committee Photos, undated
Kadimah Model Seder Photos, undated
Kadimah Reunion Photos, undated
Kadimah Photos for Hatikvah Publication Photos, undated
Kadimah Picnic Photos, undated
Kadimah Science Convention Photos, undated
Kadimah Playground Photos, undated
Kadimah Nursing Home Event Photos, undated
Kadimah Sports Photos, undated
Kadimah Headshots Photos, undated
Box-folder Contents
4.1 Kadimah Siddur Presentation DVD, 2005
4.2 Jewish Community Center/Temple Shaarey Zedek, Kadimah Tribute DVD, 2005
4.3 Kadimah Talent Show DVD, 2004
4.4 Kadimah Graduation, DVD, 2003
4.5 Kadimah Siddur DVD, 2003
4.6 On Kadimah Pond, DVD, undated
4.7 Kadimah School Sings CD, 2001-2003
4.8 Kadimah School New Building Project VHS, undated
4.9 New Kadimah Building VHS, undated
4.10 Kadimah Zimria, Cari Gerstman, First Grade, VHS, 1989-1990
4.11 Kadimah Siddur Presentation VHS, June 10, 1999
4.12 Kadimah Kindergarten Becker Farms, VHS, 1994-1995
4.13 Kadimah School of Buffalo “A Place of Community”, Betacam, June 1998

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's online catalog.


Bureau of Jewish Education (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Jewish Buffalo Archives Project
State University at Buffalo. University Archives


Education--New York (State)--Buffalo Region--History
Jewish archives New York (State), Western
Jewish archives--New York (State)--Buffalo Region
Jewish day schools--New York (State)--Buffalo Region
Jews--New York (State)--Buffalo Region--Archives
Jews--New York (State), Western--Archives
Judaism--United States--History
Kadimah School (Buffalo, N.Y.)--Archives
State University of New York at Buffalo--Archives


Betacam (TM)
Compact discs
Fliers (printed matter)

Associated Material

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