Meta Joy Jacoby Papers
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains memos and correspondence of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood, PA. The collection includes materials pertaining to traveling to the USSR in order to meet with and help Soviet Jews, including a trip report by Meta Joy Jacoby and her husband; materials reflecting the Committee and other Soviet Jewry movement organizations, communications with U.S.-elected officials; news clippings pertaining to the Soviet Jewry movement from local and national newspapers; brochures detailing events and projects of various Soviet Jewry movement organizations and a selection of newsletters from Soviet Jewry movement organizations based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The collection consists of two manuscript boxes.
- Jacoby, Meta Joy (Person)
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The Papers of Meta Joy Jacoby represent one collection housed within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM). These papers reflect the effort, beginning in the 1960s through the late 1980s, of thousands of American Jews of all denominations and political orientations to stop the persecution and discrimination of Jews in the Soviet Union. The American Soviet Jewry Movement (ASJM) is considered to be the most influential movement of the American Jewish community in the 20th century. The beginnings of the organized American Soviet Jewry Movement became a model for efforts to aid Soviet Jews in other countries, among them Great Britain, Canada, and France. The movement can be traced to the early 1960s, when the first organizations were created to address the specific problem of the persecution and isolation of Soviet Jews by the government of the Soviet Union.
Meta Joy Jacoby was an activist of the American Soviet Jewry movement. She chaired the Soviet Jewry Committee of Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood, PA. The Committee provided moral and material support to dozens of Soviet Jewish families by organizing continuous mass mailings of letters and telegrams, placing telephone calls, informing and supplying members of the congregation who traveled to the Soviet Union with religious and cultural Jewish materials for distribution among the Refuseniks. The Committee maintained contact with U.S. elected officials to help keep the plight of Soviet Jewry on the agenda in the United States foreign policy making. The Committee adopted the successful tactics of and cooperated with the national, and larger local agencies, primarily the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, but also the Union of Councils on Soviet Jewry, and Chicago Action for Soviet Jews. Among the programs and projects the Committee worked on were Adopt-a-Family (keeping track of and helping Soviet Jewish families in need), Bar and Bat Mitzvah Twinning (pairing the adolescents of the congregation with their Soviet Jewish peers to symbolically share the Jewish coming of age rituals), Jewish Wedding Day Project (providing a religious wedding ceremony for the immigrant Soviet Jewish couples who were unable to wed according to Jewish laws and traditions while living in the USSR). The Committee participated in the mobilization of the Greater Philadelphia community for the historic national march and political rally held on December 6, 1987 in Washington, D.C. The committee also briefed and debriefed the members of the local community who were willing to travel to the Soviet Union to deliver aid to Soviet Jews. 1Meta Joy Jacoby and her husband personally repeatedly traveled to the USSR and met a number of Refuseniks.2
- Mainline Reform Temple Soviet Jewry Committee, 1986-1988, Meta Joy Jacoby Papers, P-992, Box 1, Folder 3, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA, and New York, NY.
- Travel to the USSR—Briefing Materials, Reports, 1988, Meta Joy Jacoby Papers, P-992, Box 2, Folder 5, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA, and New York, NY.
2 Manuscript Boxes (1 linear foot)
Language of Materials
Personal collection of Soviet Jewry Movement activist Meta Joy Jacoby who chaired the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood, PA. The Committee provided moral support to Soviet Jewish families through the mailing of letters and telegrams, placing phone calls, and sending Jewish cultural materials to the Soviet Union. Meta Joy Jacoby repeatedly traveled to the Soviet Union to meet with and deliver aid to the Refuseniks. The collection includes memos, correspondence, newsletters, brochures, and clippings.
The collection is arranged into a single series.
Located in AJHS New York, NY
Donated by Meta Joy Jacoby in 2014.
- Guide to the Meta Joy Jacoby Papers, 1983-1990
- Processed by Andrey Filimonov
- © 2015
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Description is in English.
- Processed as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation
- November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.