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Arthur A. Goren Papers

Identifier: P-985

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the research and professional files of Arthur A. Goren, a historian and professor of American Jewish history. The collection includes copies of articles and photocopies of archival material used for research, drafts of speeches and manuscripts, handwritten and typed research notes, correspondence, clippings, photographs, and teaching and course material such as syllabi, readings, notes, and bibliographies. The topics represented in this collection mostly reflect books and articles that he wrote, or background research for the development of courses and course readings. The topics represented in this collection include: the New York Kehillah, Judah L. Magnes, ethnicity, nationalism, Jewish identity, immigration, Eastern European Jewry, American Jewish history, crime and the Jewish underworld, American Jewish leadership, Habonim, Zionism, pluralism, pacifism, Jewish Orthodoxy, Ben Halpern, Abba Hillel Silver, public culture, and the Hebrew University.

As this is primarily a research collection, personal materials are limited to some correspondence and a few photographs. These can be found in Series V: Professional Files, in the folder titled "Biographical material." The professional materials are mostly drawn from Goren's time at Columbia University. His academic life at the Hebrew University is not significantly represented, other than by a few papers he wrote while a student there. These are located in Series III: Writings.


  • 1951-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 2000


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 Aryeh Goren was born Arthur Gorenstein on February 15, 1926, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His parents, Saul and Lillian Gorenstein, were Labor Zionists and Goren was raised in Habonim ("the builders"), a halutz (pioneer) youth movement in Washington, D.C., and New York City. He enlisted in the army reserves when he turned eighteen in February 1944 and completed his freshman year of Hebrew Studies at the Teacher's Institute of Yeshiva College while preparing for the army. He entered the service in July 1944 and trained in Mississippi. He was never posted overseas and was discharged in December 1945, at which point he went directly to a Habonim convention.

He made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel in 1951 "to fulfill his youthful Zionist dreams. Those ideals also included fighting 'with like-minded people everywhere for the emergence of a better society.'"1 He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish History at the Hebrew University in 1957, and continued with some graduate studies in History at the same institution from 1958 to 1959. As a veteran, he attended the Hebrew University on the GI Bill. He then returned to the United States, completing both a Master's of Arts in 1964 and a PhD in United States History in 1966 at Columbia University. Just prior to graduation, he Hebraicized his last name to "Goren." (His research papers from his time as a student at the Hebrew University all bear the last name "Gorenstein.")

Goren returned to Israel and taught at the Hebrew University from 1966 to 1988. He then went back to Columbia University and was the Russell and Bettina Knapp Professor of American Jewish History from the chair's establishment in 1988 through his retirement in 2005. Specializing in "social and cultural Jewish history of the United States,"2 he has published numerous books and articles, including seminal works in the field. Some of his publications include The Politics and Public Culture of American Jews (1999), Studies in American Civilization (1987), The American Jews: Dimensions of Ethnicity (1982), Dissenter in Zion: From the Writings of Judah L. Magnes (1982), and New York Jews and the Quest for Community: The Kehillah Experiment 1908-1922 (1970), which "is considered a landmark contribution to the field of American Jewish history."3

Goren held visiting positions at Brandeis University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a Charles Warner Fellowship at Harvard University. He has held numerous positions on boards and committees, including Chairman of the Department of American Studies at the Hebrew University from 1970 to 1973 and again in the 1980s. He was a member of the American Jewish Historical Society's Academic Council, and served on the editorial boards of American Jewish History, the Journal of American Ethnic History, and the YIVO Annual. In 1998, he received a Jewish Cultural Achievement Award for Historical Studies from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Goren is married to Ayalah Goren née Kadman, a teacher, choreographer, and researcher of Israeli folk dance and culture. They have two sons, Avner and Amos.


  1. Arthur Aryeh Goren Faculty Page, Columbia University Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. Accessed August 5, 2014.
  2. Arthur Aryeh Goren Faculty Page, Department of History, Columbia University. Accessed August 5, 2014.
  3. Arthur Aryeh Goren Faculty Page, The Hebrew University. Accessed August 5, 2014.
  4. Ayalah Goren-Kadman Profile, Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed August 5, 2014.
  5. Biography, Arthur A. Goren; Arthur A. Goren Papers; P-985; Box 23; Folder 3; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.
  6. Curriculum Vitae, Arthur Aryeh Goren, May 1983; Arthur A. Goren Papers; P-985; Box 23; Folder 3; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.
  7. Dash Moore, Deborah. GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004.


11.5 Linear Feet (23 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials






This is the collection of Arthur A. Goren, a historian and professor of American Jewish history at the Hebrew University and Columbia University. This collection consists of his research material and professional files from his academic pursuits and career as a professor, primarily at Columbia University. Included in the collection are copies of articles and photocopies of archival material used for research, drafts of speeches and manuscripts, handwritten and typed research notes, correspondence, clippings, photographs, and teaching and course material such as syllabi, readings, notes, and bibliographies.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the American Jewish Historical Society by Arthur A. Goren in 2007 (accession number 2007.50).

Related Material

Transcripts from oral history interviews conducted by Arthur A. Goren with Abraham Shoenfeld pertaining to crime and the New York Kehillah can be found in the Abraham Shoenfeld Papers (P-884) at the American Jewish Historical Society. Additional research materials pertaining to these topics and oral history transcripts can be found in Arthur A. Goren's collection.

Goren's collection includes copies of materials written by Ben Halpern, and Goren wrote a chapter titled "Ben Halpern: 'At Home in Exile'" for the book The "Other" New York Jewish Intellectuals. The Benjamin Halpern Papers are held by the Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections Department at the Brandeis University Libraries (ID no.: MWalB0150A).

Arthur A. Goren papers: a collection of materials, gathered by Goren between approximately 1960 and 2005, as he conducted research in, wrote about, and taught American Jewish history at universities in the United States and Israel, is held by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Columbia University.

Separated Material

Duplicate material and personal material unrelated to Goren's professional life were returned to the donor, Arthur A. Goren. The photograph in Series I, Subseries 10 and the photographs in Series V are stored with the AJHS General Photographs Collection.


The American Jewish Historical Society Library holds many of Arthur A. Goren's books. AJHS also holds GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation (2004) by Deborah Dash Moore, which profiles Goren and his time and relationship to his World War II army service. These may be found by searching the catalog of the Center for Jewish History.
The Center for Jewish History also provides online access to two PhD dissertations written by Goren's students at Columbia University: Jews Against Prejudice: American Jews and the Intergroup Relations Movement from World War to Cold War (Stuart G. Svonkin, 1995) and "The Sacredness of Family": New York's Immigrant Jews and their Religion, 1890–1930 (Anne M. Polland, 2004).

Processing Information

This collection was arranged by Jessica Parker in July–August 2014. At this time, partial processing and collection-level description were completed on the collection, and full processing and description occurred for Series I, Subseries 2: Judah L. Magnes. In September-October 2014, the remainder of the collection was processed and described and subsequent collection-level arrangement and description revision was completed by Patricia Glowinski.

Materials were refoldered and rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Rusty paper clips were removed and replaced; documents were unfolded as space allowed. Original folder titles that were illegible to the archivist were photocopied and placed in the corresponding folder. Since the original contents of each folder, and their titles, were retained as donated by Goren, it is likely that the material in a given folder could be more expansive than the title suggests and that the material could pertain to multiple series in this collection. If a title hadn't been provided by Goren, a title that reflected the bulk of the material in a given folder was created. In cases where titles or words were illegible, the archivist provided best guesses, represented in brackets. For clarity, first names were added to folder titles; for example, "Felix Warburg" was used instead of simply "Warburg." Abbreviations were written out, except in instances when it wasn't clear to what they referred. Punctuation was sometimes added or changed to clarify the relationship among the components in a folder title. The dates included in folder titles pertain to some, but not all, of the dates of the original archival materials in the folders. In Series I and II, the dates of the folders themselves reflect estimations of when the research was conducted and copies of the materials were made, based on when related books and articles were published.

Guide to the Arthur A. Goren (1926-) Papers, 1951-2007 P-985
Processed by Jessica Parker. Additional processing by Patricia Glowinski.
© 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing was made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe

Revision Statements

  • December 2014.: An addition of four reels of microfilm from the AJHS Microfilm Collection were incorporated into Series I: Research Topics and Projects, Subseries 1: New York Kehillah by Patricia Glowinski.
  • 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