Norman Patz Papers
Scope and Content Note
The papers are a collection documenting the congregational efforts of Temple Sholom of West Essex to help resettle Soviet Jews. Folder 1 includes a letter from Rabbi Patz that gives more detail about where photographs located in Folders 4 through 7 were taken, reasons for some of the correspondence, and his interest in helping Soviet Jews. The remainder of the folder includes a document giving specific guidelines for corresponding with Soviet Jews, instructions for placing phone calls to a Jewish family in the Soviet Union, letters discussing remarriage licenses for the emigres, and a discussion about circumcision for the male emigres.
Folders 4 through 7 contain photographs of trips taken to visit Jews in Ladispoli, Leningrad, and Moscow and other unidentified places, as well as photos of the Karaite Tombstones in Crimea. Folder 2 includes Rosh Hashanah service packets for Temple Sholom of West Essex, in honor of Soviet Jewry and Folder 3 has holiday programs for Hanukah and Passover.
Folder 12 contains a day calendar entitled, “Silent No More,” and gives a history of the effort to free Soviet Jews and notes important dates in this ongoing journey. Folder 13 includes a document detailing the important role that Steve Greenberg and his friends played in the shift of Soviet Jewish emigration from the U.S. to Israel, and an oral history telling the story of a family’s efforts to migrate from Kiev to Israel and all the obstacles they faced.
Folders 8 through 11 contain four detailed reports of trips to visit Soviet Jews in the Soviet Union. Norman and Naomi Patz visited Moscow and Leningrad in July, 1985. The trip report describes the people and places they visited in their time in Russia and the difficulties and hardships faced by the Soviet Jews. Shira Leibowitz’s trip report tells of her time spent in Moscow during Chanukah and she dedicates her journal to Marina Furman, a young Soviet Jewish writer, whose story is told as a prelude to a journal article. Steven and Marilyn Kushner and Jerry and Priscilla Stein visited Moscow, Leningrad and Riga (Latvia) in February 1987. A special feature of this trip report was that it included an American point of view regarding the details of daily occurrences in traveling, guided tours, hotel accommodations, shopping, etc. The trip report “Mission to Moscow” by Rabbi Joel E. Soffin, Sandy Soffin, and Susan L. and David Zuckerman took place in April 1987. This report lists contact information for the people they visited and also has four Appendixes: Appendix I, has helpful tips for visitors to the Soviet Union; Appendix II, lists Soviet Jewish families and items that people could donate to each family; Appendix III, key contacts and Appendix IV, letters the visitors brought out written by some of the Soviet Jews.
- Creation: 1970-2007
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1985 - 1989
- Patz, Norman (Person)
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The Norman Patz Papers 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 Americans 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.
Norman Richard Patz was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 28, 1938. He received a B.A. (cum laude) from Harvard College in 1959 and was ordained as a Rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 1965. HUC-JIR awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1990. He married Naomi Steinlight in 1962 and they have two daughters.1
Rabbi Patz became the spiritual leader of Temple Sholom of West Essex, Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1969 and was named Rabbi Emeritus in June, 2006. Norman Patz was an early and passionate activist for Soviet Jewry. With the help of the Rabbi, the synagogue sponsored and welcomed Refusnik families into the congregation.2
- Who’s Who in World Jewry, ed. Judith Turk Rosenblatt (Maryland, New York, Who’s Who in World Jewry, Inc., 1987), 412.
- “Band,” Casa de Calexico, accessed January 30, 2009, http://www.casadecalexico.com/band.
0.5 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)
Language of Materials
This collection contains correspondence, photographs and negatives of sites and trips taken, material concerning Soviet Jewry activism and Synagogue services, and trip reports of visits to Jews in the Soviet Union.
Organized into thirteen folders. Arranged by type of material.
Located in AJHS New York, NY
Rabbi Norman R. Patz
- Patz, Norman (Person)
- Kushner, Marilyn (Person)
- Kushner, Steven (Person)
- Leibowitz, Shira (Person)
- Makuskin, Michael (Person)
- Patz, Naomi (Person)
- Soffin, Joel E., Rabbi (Person)
- Soffin, Sandy (Person)
- Stein, Jerry (Person)
- Stein, Priscilla (Person)
- Zuckerman, David (Person)
- Zuckerman, Susan L. (Person)
- Temple Sholom of West Essex (Cedar Grove, N.J.) (Organization)
Genre / Form
- Crimea (Ukraine)
- Ladispoli (Italy)
- Moscow (Russia)
- Rīga (Latvia)
- Saint Petersburg (Russia)
- United States -- Relations -- Soviet Union
- Guide to the Norman Patz Papers, 1970-2007 P-997
- Processed by Louise Masarof
- © 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
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- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.