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Records of the Union of Sephardic Congregations

Identifier: ASF_AR-3

Scope and Content Note

The records found in this collection document the work of the Union of Sephardic Congregations, with the bulk of the material being from the mid-1940s through the 1960s. The collection has been arranged based on the original order of the records, and is divided into two subgroups. Subgroup I contains records accumulated during the presidency of Dr. David de Sola Pool, and is further divided into three series: Series 1: Accounting Books; Series 2: Sephardic Communities; and Series 3: Subject Files. Subgroup II holds the records of the Union under Dr. Solomon Gaon’s presidency, and contains one series, Series 1: Subject Files.

The Union’s main activity was the publication and distribution of Sephardic Hebrew prayer books with English translations, and this is well documented throughout the collection. Correspondence concerning requests for prayer books will be found in both subgroups. Subgroup I contains financial records concerning their sale in Series 1: Accounting Books, as well as in folders labeled “Financial” located in the subject files of both subgroups.

In addition to the material on prayer books, there is also documentation on other activities of the Union. Material on assistance to international communties may be found in Series 2: Sephardi Communities and Series 3: Subject Files of Subgroup I. Also included in these series is material on related topics such as the relief agency Ozar Hatorah, the Committee for the Forgotten Million, and assistance provided to the Marrano community in Portugal and the Falashas in Ethiopia. Information on the Union's work to find and secure employment for rabbis, cantors, and Jewish teachers is located in these same series as well as in Subgroup II, Series 1.

Most records in this collection are in English, but the collection also contains documents in Hebrew, French, and Spanish.


  • undated, 1929-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1936-1981


Language of Materials

This collection is in English, Hebrew, French and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

American Sephardi Federation, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Historical Note

The Union of Sephardic Congregations was established in 1929 by leaders of Sephardic communities in America to promote the religious interests of Sephardic Jews. Its primary aim was to give cohesion and the strength of union to the scattered and comparatively weak congregational units of the Sephardim. It also assisted Sephardic communities outside of the United States.

The main activity of the Union was the preparation and publication of Sephardic prayer books with English translations by the Union’s first President, Dr. David de Sola Pool. These books were distributed to Sephardic communities throughout the world, including South America, Europe, Africa, India, Canada, Rhodesia, and Iraq. It also assisted American Sephardic communities in finding and bringing to the United States trained Sephardic rabbis, cantors, and scholars, as well as provided scholarships for religious training for promising Sephardim in Yeshivas in the United States. During the 1930s and 1940s it assisted in the rescue of Sephardic scholars and religious leaders from Europe, was involved with the Sephardic refugees interred at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York, and collected financial support for the Marranos in Portugal. Additionally, the Union supported the adoption of Sephardic Hebrew for use in Israel.


9.8 Linear Feet


Records in this collection display the activities of the Union of Sephardic Congregations under the presidencies of Dr. David de Sola Pool and Dr. Solomon Gaon. Much material is available on the preparation and distribution of Sephardic prayer books produced by the Union. Other topics featured in this collection include information on national and international Sephardic communities, the Union's relief efforts for refugees and disadvantaged communities, and employment of Sephardic rabbis and cantors.


The collection is organized in two subgroups:

  1. Subgroup I: Presidency of Dr. David de Sola Pool, 1926-1969
  2. Series 1: Accounting Books, 1937-1969
  3. Series 2: Sephardi Communities, 1945-1949
  4. Series 3: Subject Files, Chronological, 1929-1967
  5. Subgroup II: Presidency of Haham Dr. Solomon Gaon, 1967-1981, 1988
  6. Series 1: Subject Files, Chronological, 1967-1981, 1988

Related Material

Copies of USC prayer books are available in the American Sephardi Federation's library.

Guide to the Records of the Union of Sephardic Congregations undated, 1929-1988; (bulk 1936-1981)
Processed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia
© 2002.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from USC02.xml

Revision Statements

  • September 2004.: Converted to ead 2002. Revised as USC02.xml by Dianne Ritchey Oummia. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc.
  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the American Sephardi Federation Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States