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National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-172

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of memoranda, meeting minutes, general mailings, conference programs, transcribed speeches, and other material related to the administrative actions of the NCRAC and NJCRAC its plenary sessions, committees, activities, task forces, correspondence, and publications.

Dates

  • undated, 1940-1994

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility. For more information, contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

email: info@ajhs.org

Historical Note

The National Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC) was founded on March 19, 1944 by the Council of Jewish Federations for the purpose of improving and safe-guarding Jewish communities in the United States from anti-Semitism at home and abroad, pursuing and nurturing the ideals of democratic pluralism found in the Bill of Rights, and fostering American support for Israel. In order to achieve their goals the organization committed itself to the ideals of equality, freedom, justice, and opportunity. Seeking to defend Jewish communities from anti-Semitism they sought to establish dialogue with other ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. They argued that by ensuring and developing mutual respect across many diverse groups each would be allowed to develop freely while participating fully within the broader society of the United States. They also believed that by being active members in their non-Jewish communities and advocating for ideals mentioned above they were upholding the tenets of Judaism and maintaining Jewish tradition. That only by adhering to such principles Jews and other groups could peacefully coexist.

At the inaugural Plenary Session held on September 9, 1944 at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, the representatives of various local and national Jewish organizations established as the aims and objectives of the NCRAC:
  1. 1. To study, analyze, and evaluate the policies and activities of the national and local agencies.
  2. 2. To ascertain the problem areas from time to time.
  3. 3. To ascertain the areas of activities of these organizations and to conduct a continuous inventory of their projects.
  4. 4. To serve as a co-ordinating and clearance agency for projects and policies, to eliminate duplication and conflict of activities, and to recommend further projects to member agencies.
  5. 5. To seek agreement on and formulate policies. Policies once formulated and adopted, it is expected that the affiliated organizations will adhere to such policies and will not engage in any activities in contravention of such policies.
Initial committees included Membership, Public Relations, Interfaith Relations, and Legislation. At the conclusion of the session Executive Director Isaiah Minkoff regarding the mission of the NCRAC was “to make a constant evaluation of the soundness of our main approaches to the problem of anti-Semitism. How successful are our methods? Are we jumping form one incident to another without keeping the over-all picture in sight? Are we concentrating on the real areas of danger? Such constant evaluation can best be achieved by a body like the NCRAC. Of course every defense agency does some self-questioning, but it is clear that there is great advantage in a central organization which had the benefit of the experience of all the agencies in the field and can approach the problem with a broader perspective.”

The Council itself is currently comprised of independent community councils from across the nation. These councils convene annually as a legislative body, known as the Plenum. At these plenary sessions issues are debated and policies created in order to provide organized action by the various community councils across the country. Additionally, there are numerous committees and task forces that specifically address areas of concern for the Jewish community in particular, and the greater community at large.

In the 1960s the organization was renamed the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC). In 1997 the name changed once more to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

Sources:

http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/

http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/publications/JPP_94-95.html

These papers are the creation of the officers and staff of the NJRAC in carrying out their duties and assignments, in particular two of its executive directors Isaiah Minkoff and Jordan C. Band.

Extent

137 Boxes (68.5 linear feet)

Overview

This collection documents the activities, administrative, planning, proceedings, and correspondence of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council from its founding in 1944 to 1994. The collection includes correspondence, programs, minutes, proposals, reports, clippings, press releases, and publications.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in seven series, Series II has two sub-series and Series IV has three sub-series. All series are arranged in alphabetical order and then in chronological order.

The organizational structure of this collection seeks to balance the original order of the material and make it easily adaptable to the acquisition of future accessions from the NJCRAC, and its descendent organizations, to be integrated into it. As a result the folder titles represent a hybridization of the original folder title and the new organizational schema.

Acquisition Information

Collection is compiled from three accessions. The first was on Decmeber 19, 1978 by Lily Silbert, NCRACR Office Supervisor. This accession consisted of sixteen cartons. The second accession was on October 27, 1981 from Robert Segal, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Boston of an unspecified number of boxes. The third accession came on March 31, 1995 from NJCRAC Executive Director, Jordan Band, of nine cartons.

Related Material

Material related to the records of the National Jewish Community Relations Council can be found at the Center for Jewish History and in the collections of other Jewish social organizations. The Center for Jewish History has a number of archival collections and publications by the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. Additionally, the records of the American Jewish Committee are located at the AJC Information Center and Digital Archives in New York. The records of the American Jewish Congress are located at the Judah L. Magnes Museum’s Western Jewish History Center in Berkley, California.

There are a number of publications and reports in the Center of Jewish History’s collection that might prove helpful. Many of these are the publications of the NJCRAC or the constituent organizations that comprised the council. Of particular interest is Toward more creative Jewish living in a free plural society by former NJCRAC chairman Jordan C. Band which can be found in the YIVO collection.
Title
Guide to the Records of National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council 1940-1994 I-172
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Michael D. Montalbano
Date
© 2009
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation
Edition statement
This version was derived from [filename01ES.xml]

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

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