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Morey Schapira Papers

Identifier: P-906

Scope and Content Note

The Morey Schapira Papers cover the years 1963 through 2010 with the bulk dating in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection documents nearly 30 years of Morey Schapira’s involvement in the Soviet Jewry movement, the development and increasing importance of the issues of Soviet Jews worldwide, the relations between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The materials cover activities of many Soviet Jewry organizations. Those groups most strongly represented are Action for Soviet Jewry, Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry, New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. Many other organizations that are represented include Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry, Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry, National Conference on Soviet Jewry, National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry, Southern California Council for Soviet Jews, Soviet Jewry Legal Advocacy Center, Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry, Committee of Concerned Scientists and Scientists for Sakharov, Orlov and Shcharansky.

The collection also contain topical files which did not originate with any specific group, trip reports from visitors to the U.S.S.R., and a very large body of newspaper clippings concerning Soviet Jewry, the Soviet Union and related issues.

The documents include correspondence, notes, memoranda, publications, news clippings, photographs, ephemera, and a video recording on CD-ROM.


  • undated, 1963, 1965-1994, 1996-1997, 2010


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

Morey Schapira (1949- ) first became active in the struggle to gain freedom for Soviet Jews in the late 1960s. Following his graduation from Case Western Reserve University in 1970 he worked in Boston as a research physicist for five years.

During his years in Boston Mr. Schapira's involvement with Soviet Jews broadened and deepened for he felt that the traditional Jewish leadership did not offer enough activities and programs on behalf of Soviet Jews. In 1971 he became president of the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jews. This led in 1974 to his becoming a national vice president of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jews. While in Boston he also co-founded Action for Soviet Jewry of Boston and Medical Mobilization for Soviet Jews.

In 1977 he received an MBA from Harvard and completed a thesis entitled "U.S.-U.S.S.R. Technology Transfer." From Harvard he moved to San Francisco. From 1979-1984 he was president of the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews, which had over 2,000 members. This group was one of the most active member councils of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews which had 100,000 members nationwide. Mr. Schapira's reputation for commitment to and concern for the plight of Soviet Jews led him to become first a board member and then a national vice president of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. He was elected national president of the organization 1984-1986.

Mr. Schapira traveled to the former U.S.S.R. in 1974 to meet with leading Refuseniks and dissidents. He has spent time with Soviet Jews in Israel, spoken hundreds of times before various audiences about the Soviet Jewry issue, testified several times before Congress, and briefed Cabinet members on human rights issues before their trips to the U.S.S.R.


56.27 Linear Feet (112 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Spanish; Castilian



Papers of Morey Schapira reflect the work of the prominent activist of the American Soviet Jewry movement in the years 1965-1993. The collection includes details on Mr. Schapira’s leadership role with organizations Action for Soviet Jewry, the Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry, the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. The collection contains files on many other groups, individuals and topics.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY


The records were donated by the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007, and by Morey Schapira in 2013.

Washington Post ad autographed by Secretary Shultz in MAP1, Folder 1 was donated by Morey Schapira in February 2017.

Related Material

The papers of Morey Schapira is one individual collection within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM) located at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). Other Soviet Jewry Movement collections at AJHS include the records of Action for Soviet Jewry (I-487), the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ; I-181 and I-181A), the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (I-410, I-410A), Houston Action for Soviet Jewry (I-500), Bay Area Council for Soviet Jews (I-505), Seattle Action for Soviet Jewry (I-507), The Jewish Chronicle Soviet Jewry Collection (I-523), B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum Soviet Jewry Movement Collection (I-529), Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry (I-530), Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (I-538), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (I-543), Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans (I-547), Jewish Defense League (I-374) the papers of Joel Ackerman (P-787), Julia Mates Cheney (P-806), Jerry Goodman (P-863), Laurel and Alan J. Gould (P-866), Carolyn W. Sanger (P-870), Leah Lieberman (P-869), Si Frumkin (P-871), Elaine Pittell (P-873), Sanford A. Gradinger (P-880), Shaul Osadchey (P-882), Leonard S. Cahan (P-883), Doris H. Goldstein (P-887), David H. Hill (P-888), Margery Sanford (P-889), Pinchas Mordechai Teitz (P-891), David Waksberg (P-895), Pamela B. Cohen (P-897), Moshe Decter (P-899), William Korey (P-903), Morey Schapira (P-906), Charlotte Gerper Turner (P-907), Myrtle Sitowitz (P-908), Kathleen M. Hyman (P-911), Babette Wampold (P-912), Rabbi David Goldstein and Shannie Goldstein (P-918), Leslie Schaffer (P-923), Arthur Bernstein (P-925), Dolores Wilkenfeld (P-927), Sylvia Weinberg (P-928) , Irwin H. Krasna (P-934) , Constance S. Kreshtool (P-935), Betty Golomb (P-938), Grace Perlbinder (P-942), Mort Yadin (P-943), Ann Polunsky (P-886), Lillian Foreman (P-945), Marilyn Labendz(P-946), Abraham Silverstein(P-947), Bert Silver (P-949), Billie Kozolchyk (P-950), John Steinbruck (P-951), Lawrence I. Lerner (P-952), Ruth Geller Gold (P-953), Efry Spectre (P-954), Alan M. Kohn (P-956), Frank Brodsky (P-957), Victor Borden (P-959), Estelle Newman (P-960), Carol S. Kekst (P-961), Linda Rutta (P-965), Rachel Braun (P-967), Jack Forgash (P-968), Michael Greene (P-969), Judith A. Manelis (P-970), Fred Greene (P-971), Harry Lerner (P-972), Alan L. Cohen (P-973), Murray Levine (P-974) and Jack Minker (P-975).

Additional materials from other collections include records dealing with the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) located within the North American Jewish Students Appeal (NAJSA, I-338) and the records of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC, I-172). Related records are also located at the AJHS in Newton Centre, MA including memorabilia and ephemera of the New England Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (I-237) and the Records of the Student Coalition for Soviet Jewry – Brandeis University (I-493).

Guide to the Morey Schapira (1949- ) Papers, undated, 1963, 1965-1994, 1996-1997, 2010 * P-906
Processed by by Harvey N. Gardiner and Andrey Filimonov
© 2011
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Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • November 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