Skip to main content

Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers

Identifier: P-1030

Scope and Content Note

This collection mostly contains sermons, correspondence, reports, and other materials from Lelyveld's work in Ohio and Nebraska before 1950. In addition to his work as a rabbi, Lelyveld was also involved in the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the Omaha Urban League, and other projects related to Zionism, social justice, integration, and peace. Most of the collection focuses on his work attempting to establish aid to conscientious objectors in Civilian Public Service camps, as well as to aid those in Japanese internment camps. He also worked to establish a Jewish Relief Worker's Training Unit to specifically address the needs of Jewish conscientious objectors. Lelyveld corresponded with Max Ticktin, Abraham F. Citron, Isidor Hoffman, Max M. Kleinbaum, Thurgood Marshall, and conscientious objectors. Lelyveld also did some consulting work for the Jewish Chautauqua Society and visited college campuses in South Dakota and Iowa, to report on how Judaism was taught at these universities.


  • 1933-1950


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Arthur Joseph Lelyveld was born in New York City on February 6, 1913. He graduated from Columbia University in 1933 and Lelyveld was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in 1939. His first congregation was Congregation Bene Israel in Hamilton, Ohio; he relocated to Omaha, Nebraska to lead Temple Israel in November 1941. In 1941, he was named the first president of the Jewish Peace Fellowship. In 1944, Lelyveld returned to New York and served as the executive director for the Committee on Unity for Palestine. From 1946-1956, he served as the assistant national director, then national director, of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation. He served as executive vice-chairman of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, from 1956-1958. In 1958, Lelyveld became the senior rabbi of Anshe Chesed Congregation in Cleveland, where he served until 1986. Lelyveld was also involved in civil rights issues. In Omaha, he was a member of the Urban League and participated in the "Freedom Summer" in 1964 to register black voters, during which he was beaten by segregationists. Lelyveld died on April 15, 1996.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials




This collection contains the papers of Arthur J. Lelyveld, a Reform rabbi and activist. The collection mostly covers Lelyveld's life from 1933-1950, focusing on his work to provide aid to Jewish conscientious objectors during World War II. The papers also focus on his work as a rabbi in Ohio and Nebraska.


Arranged alphabetically.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by David Lelyveld in April 2017. The accession number associated with this collection is 2017.013.

Processing Information

In 2017, the collection was rehoused into acid free folders. Original folder titles were retained, but loose materials were put in folders.

Guide to the Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers, 1933-1950 P-1030
Processed by Nicole Greenhouse
© 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • December 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States