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Judah J. Shapiro Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-913

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the time Judah J. Shapiro spent as writer and broadcaster of the radio show "Highlights and Background of the Jewish News" on WEVD in New York City. He wrote and broadcast the show from 1971 until his death in 1980. The bulk of the collection is transcripts of the radio show. The show focused mainly on the politics and current affairs of the state of Israel. Significant events include the 1973 Yom Kippur War, various elections taking place in Israel over the course of nine years, and attempts at Arab-Israeli peace talks. Shapiro also focused on events affecting Jews worldwide, such as the plight of Jews trying to leave the Soviet Union, persecution of Syrian Jews, and the French government's release of Abu Daoud. Shapiro also extensively covered the broader Arab world. He spent a more limited amount of time on Jewish life in the United States. Some coverage is given to the activities of American Jewish cultural organizations, holidays and cultural events, as well as some conflicts within the American Jewish community, such as intermarriage. American political events are hardly discussed unless they pertain to Israel or the Middle East, with the major exception being the Watergate scandal.

There are small amounts of other materials also contained in the collection, including press releases from various Jewish organizations, letters to and from Judah Shapiro, newspaper clippings, materials for a course Shapiro taught at the Jewish Teachers' Seminary, invitations to and programs from various conferences and events, and lectures, papers, and essays in both draft and final format.

The partners of the Center for Jewish History have in their holdings several books by Judah Shapiro. The American Jewish Historical Society holds The Friendly Society: a History of the Workmen's Circle (HS1510.W9 S5) and Contemporary Jewish Community Life and the Zionist Movement (DS143.S45) in the AJHS Monographs collection. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research holds Contemporary Jewish Community Life and the Zionist Movement (0000066938) and Der itstiker matsev in di kehiles un di Tsienistishe bayegung oyfgabn in onblik fun di sakones (00066932) in the YIVO Library Main Stack Collection.

Dates

  • undated, 1916-1980
  • Majority of material found within 1971 - 1977

Creator

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 mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Judah J. Shapiro (1912-1980)

Judah Joseph Shapiro was born in New York City on June 12, 1912. Throughout his life, Shapiro was a "leading Zionist organizer, theoretician and educator."1 From 1954 to 1956, he was the director of the Department of Cultural and Educational Reconstruction of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. In 1956, he was appointed as the national director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations, a position he held until 1959. He had previously been associate national director of the foundations and had worked with the foundations at college campuses in New York and Boston from 1942 to 1948. From 1959 to 1965, he was executive officer and secretary of the board for the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. In the spring on 1965, he was named as chairman of the Commission on Reorganization of the Zionist Movement in the United States, which led to the formation of the American Zionist Federation. From 1969 to 1976, he was a professor of contemporary Jewish thought at the Jewish Institute of Religion of Hebrew Union College. From 1971 to 1980, he wrote and broadcast the radio show Highlights and Background of the Jewish News, a program on Jewish affairs. The program was broadcast on the station WEVD, which was founded by the Socialist Party in honor of Eugene V. Debbs in 1927 and taken over by the Yiddish newspaper The Forward in 1932.

Shapiro was also president of the Labor Zionist Alliance as well as editor of the Sunday English-language page of The Forward and the periodical The Jewish Frontier. Throughout his career, he guest lectured at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad, as well as at conferences and special events held by a variety of Jewish organizations. He additionally served as the president of the National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, chairman of the Hadassah Youth Reference board, and as a board member for both the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the American Jewish Historical Society.

Shapiro also wrote several articles and books, including Contemporary Jewish Community Life and the Zionist Movement (1964) and The Friendly Society: a History of the Workmen's Circle (1970). His doctoral thesis for the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University is titled "A Report of an Experience in the Field of Educational Reconstruction in Europe After World War II (1948--1954)."

At the time of his death, Shapiro was president of the National Committee for Labor Israel. He died on September 2, 1980. Shapiro was married to Florence I. Shapiro (née Snyder), a social studies teacher. They had two sons, Jeremy Joel and Daniel Reuben Shapiro.

Footnotes

1 "Dr. Judah Shapiro, 68; Headed Zionist Groups," New York Times, September 6, 1980, 26.

References:

"B'nai B'rith Names Aide," New York Times, May 20, 1956, 19.

"Dr. Judah Shapiro, 68; Headed Zionist Groups," New York Times, September 6, 1980, 26.

"Hillel Director Resigns," New York Times, June 28, 1959, 54.

Shapiro, Judah J. Curriculum Vitae, 1967.

Extent

4 Linear Feet (8 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Yiddish

Abstract

This collection documents the time Judah J. Shapiro spent as writer and broadcaster of the radio show “Highlights and Background of the Jewish News” on WEVD in New York City. He wrote and broadcast the show from 1971 until his death in 1980. The bulk of the collection is transcripts of the radio show. The show focused mainly on the politics and current affairs of the state of Israel.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into a single series.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Jeremy J. Shapiro in April 2008.

Related Material

The partners of the Center for Jewish History have in their holdings several books by Judah Shapiro. The American Jewish Historical Society holds The Friendly Society: a History of the Workmen's Circle (HS1510.W9 S5) and Contemporary Jewish Community Life and the Zionist Movement (DS143.S45) in the AJHS Monographs collection. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research holds Contemporary Jewish Community Life and the Zionist Movement (0000066938) and Der itstiker matsev in di kehiles un di Tsienistishe bayegung oyfgabn in onblik fun di sakones (00066932) in the YIVO Library Main Stack Collection.
Title
Guide to the Judah J. Shapiro (1912-1980) Papers, undated, 1916-1980   P-913
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Sarah Glover
Date
© 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

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

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States