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Jerry Goodman Papers

Identifier: P-863

Scope and Content Note

The Jerry Goodman Papers include materials from the mid-1960s through 2011, and the bulk of the collection is dated 1970s-1980s. Among the materials within this collection are documents related to the creation of the Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement at the AJHS, a project for which Jerry Goodman was a consultant and Senior Advisor in 2006-2008. The documents include correspondence, memoranda, publications, news clippings, photographs, slides, video and audio recordings, posters and broadsides, pins, bracelets, and pendants.

The collection is divided into twelve series.

Series I includes correspondence of Jerry Goodman, and is divided into two Sub-series, first of which being carbon copies of the outgoing letters by Jerry Goodman as the Executive Director of the NSCJ, and the second as miscellaneous correspondence both during and after his work as the NCSJ Executive Director.

Series II contains some fragmentary documents, including minutes, correspondence, reports, resolutions and notes of AJCSJ and documentation on strategy, fundraising and budget, as well as on various projects, of NCSJ.

Series III has memos and notes of most of the 1970s and 1980s, and Series IV covers various events, including conferences, dedicated to Soviet Jewry, which were held with participation from NCSJ. The series include correspondence, notes, research and promotional materials pertaining to The Power of Peoplehood: The Soviet Jewish Journey international conference commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, in tribute to those who struggled for the rights of the Soviet Jews that took place on November 9, 2011.

Series V, Series VI and Series VII include legal, statistical and general information on Soviet Jewry, anti-Semitism and broader background information on the Soviet Union. Series VIII includes information on European and World Jewry, including Israeli-Arab relations.

In Series IX there are presented later documents which reflect the effort to create and launch the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement at the AJHS.

Series X, Series XI and Series XII include photographs, ephemera, posters and non-paper materials, like pins, bracelets, pendants, audio and video recordings.

List of Abbreviations

  1. AASJM-Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement
  2. AJC-American Jewish Committee
  3. AJCSJ-American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry
  4. ASJM-American Soviet Jewry Movement
  5. HIAS-Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  6. NCSJ-National Conference on Soviet Jewry
  7. SSSJ-Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry
  8. UJA-United Jewish Appeal
  9. UCSJ-Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry


  • Creation: undated, 1954, 1959-2008, 2011
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1971 - 1989


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:

Historical Note

The Papers of Jerry Goodman 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 American Jews 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 Movements 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.

Jerry Goodman took an active part in the work of one such organization, the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry (AJCSJ), which existed from 1964-1971. The AJCSJ was mostly a coordinating body created by several major Jewish organizations and lacking permanent staff. In 1971 when the AJCSJ was transformed into a more centralized and structured organization with its own agenda, staff and budget, Jerry Goodman became the founding Executive Director. Goodman was instrumental in coordinating many Jewish communities and organizations in order to consolidate and channel influence, financial means and information in order to pressure the Soviet authorities to allow the free emigration of Jews from the USSR and end all forms of discrimination. For more than 20 years Goodman advocated on behalf of Soviet Jews which included political activism, interpersonal contacts with Soviet Jews, and work on informing the American public on the plight of Jews in the USSR. His work and dedication came to fruition in the second half of the 1980s, when the Soviet government started political reforms which allowed most of the Jews willing to emigrate from the Soviet Union to do so. The Soviet Jewish immigrants strengthened and influenced the American Jewish community and especially the State of Israel.

Jerry Goodman's papers are comprised of documents accumulated during his work as the external relations coordinator of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry and then as the founding Executive Director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.


Mr. Jerry Goodman holds a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from New York University, with training as a Mediator. He is the founder of the Archives of the American Soviet Jewry Movement, a project of the American Jewish Historical Society, and served as its Senior Advisor.

He was from 1971 through 1988 the founding Executive Director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), a nationwide coalition of 350 national and local groups, and is currently a member of its Board of Directors. NCSJ's mission was to improve conditions for Jews in the Soviet Union, end discrimination against their religious and cultural life, and to help achieve their right to leave.

Mr. Goodman was a consultant to the U.S. Congress in creating the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as the "Helsinki Commission," and was a proponent of "Two Track Diplomacy." He helped secure the passage of the landmark Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking U.S.-Soviet trade to emigration. In addition, during his tenure, the largest human rights national manifestation for Soviet Jews was organized, when 250,000 Jews and non-Jews came to Washington, D.C. for Mikhail Gorbachev's summit meeting with President Ronald Reagan, in December 1987.

When Mr. Goodman left the NCSJ he became the Executive Director of the ad hoc International Committee for Sepharad '92, a global project to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Expulsion of Jews from Spain, and to celebrate the rich history and cultural contributions of Sephardic Jews. Following the completion of his mandate, Mr. Goodman became the Executive Director of the National Committee for Labor Israel (NCLI).

Mr. Goodman was chairman of the Dalton Council, a faculty-parent planning and advisory group for the Dalton School, N.Y. He is a consultant to the Gorbachev Foundation, and is a board member of the Centre Bonastruc ca Porta, Girona, Spain. He is a consultant to the State of the World Forum as well as to KREAB, Gavin Anderson, a global strategic planning and communications company, and serves on the Advisory Council, American Society for the Jewish Heritage in Poland.

Mr. Goodman hosted the WPIX-TV series "Jewish Dimension," and the radio series, "Russia Reports." As the Director of European Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, he specialized in issues relating to post-war Europe, notably within Germany, the Soviet Union and East Europe. He writes and lectures on political and social issues concerning the Former Soviet Union, Israel, and the Middle East, and advises not-for-profit organizations in strategic planning, organization and communications.


27.5 Linear Feet (47 manuscript boxes, 3 half manuscript boxes, 1 OS1 box, 1 SB2 box, 1 PHONO box, 1 MAP folder)

Language of Materials





The collection contains papers of Jerry Goodman, the founding director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, the largest and most influential organization created by the American Jews to coordinate efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews, which survives today as NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia. The bulk of the collection covers the activities from the early 1970s through late 1980s. The collection includes some minutes of meetings, memoranda, correspondence, newsletters and publications of the NCSJ and its precursor, the American Jewish Committee on Soviet Jewry (AJCSJ, 1964-1971). Among other materials are some posters and considerable number of photographs on Refuseniks and of the ASJM events in New York and the US, audio recordings on compact cassettes and reel-to-reels re-mastered into CD format, and VHS tapes. The collection also contains non-paper objects like pins, pendants, bracelets devoted to prisoners of conscience in the USSR, as well as a t-shirt, a scarf and a shopping bag.


The collection is divided into twelve series as follows:

  1. Series I: Executive Director's correspondence, undated, 1971-1992, 2001
  2. Subseries A: Sorted correspondence, 1971-1978, 1980-1982, 1984-1988
  3. Subseries B: Other correspondence, undated, 1971, 1973-1992, 2001
  4. Series II: AJCSJ and NCSJ administrative materials, undated, 1962-1973, 1976-1978, 1980, 1982-1989
  5. Subseries A: AJCSJ, 1962-1970
  6. Subseries B: NCSJ, undated, 1971-1973, 1976-1978, 1980, 1982-1989
  7. Series III: Memoranda and circular letters (memos, notes, minutes), undated, 1965, 1969-1970, 1972-1991, 2000
  8. Series IV: Conferences and events related to Soviet Jewry, undated, 1971, 1977, 1985-1989, 2011
  9. Series V: Legal materials related to SJM, undated, 1971-1978, 1986-1988
  10. Series VI: Publications on Soviet Jews and on the USSR, undated, 1959, 1964-1992, 1995-1997, 1999, 2001, 2004
  11. Subseries A: Publications, undated, 1966-1991, 1995
  12. Subseries B: Articles papers and reports, undated, 1965, 1968, 1970-1991, 1997, 2001, 2004
  13. Subseries C: Press clippings, undated, 1959, 1964, 1970-1991, 1996-1997, 1999, 2001, 2004
  14. Subseries D: Newsletters, undated, 1977, 1979-1980, 1982-1983, 1985-1992
  15. Series VII: Background information on the USSR, Soviet Jewry and US-USSR relations, undated, 1954, 1962, 1965-1970, 1974, 1976-1991, 1999
  16. Series VIII: Materials on Eastern Europe, Middle East and World Jewry, 1966-1971, 1977-1979, 1981-1989, 1991
  17. Series IX: Archives of the Soviet Jewry Movement project, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2004-2008
  18. Series X: Photographs, undated, 1968, 1971-1972, 1976-1978, 1981-1988, 1998
  19. Series XI: Ephemera, oversize materials, pins and other 3D objects, undated, 1968, 1970-1976, 1978, 1980-1986, 1988, 1991
  20. Series XII: Audio and Video materials, 1971-1972, 1977, 1983, 1986-1989, 1992, 1999

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

Donated by Jerry Goodman in 2003-2016.

Digitization Note

Selected photographs in Series X as well as selected posters and ephemera in Series XI were digitized and made available online in 2014. Selected audio in Series XII was migrated off of CDs and made available online in 2017. All unique VHS videocassettes in Series XII were digitized and made available online in 2017 with the exception of videocassettes 4-6, which were not digitized due to copyright concerns.

Related Material

The Papers of Jerry Goodman 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), 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 Kreshtool Papers (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), Jack Minker (P-975), Meta Joy Jacoby (P-992), Barry Marks (P-993), Harold and Judith S. Einhorn (P-996) and Carol and Michael Bierman (P-1007).

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 Boston, 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 Jerry Goodman Papers, undated, 1954, 1959-2008, 2011 *P-863
Processed by Vital Zajka and Andrey Filimonov
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Selected posters, ephemera, and photographs were digitized with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). Video and audio were digitized thanks to the generous support of the Blavatnik Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • June 2016: Box 49 numbers updated by Leanora Lange.
  • March 2017: Links to digitized audio added by Nicole Greenhouse.
  • July 2017: Links to digitized video added, sponsor statement added, filename simplified, and digitization note updated by Leanora Lange.
  • October 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