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The Papers of Graenum Berger (1908-1999) document Berger's involvement with Ethiopian Jewry and his efforts to bring about their rescue from Ethiopia through his organization, the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ). The Papers also contain materials regarding Berger's other interests-his writings, his travels throughout the world, his community affiliations, his career as a Jewish social work executive, his commitment to Jewish causes, and his commitment to Israel. Also included are personal and biographical materials from his many long-term friendships and associations; correspondence, minutes, reports, clippings, manuscripts, research materials, journal articles, photographs, and publications.
The Howard Lenhoff Papers were generated and accumulated by Howard Lenhoff starting with his involvement with the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ) in 1974 and running up until his final preparations for his book, Black Jews, Jews and Other Heroes: How Grassroots Activism Led to the Rescue of the Ethiopian Jews (2007). In addition to chronicling Lenhoff’s participation in AAEJ, the collection documents AAEJ’s relationships with other activists and organizations; Israeli government officials’ responses to AAEJ pressure; requests for help and stories of trauma from the Ethiopian Jews; AAEJ’s extensive publicity efforts; and American Jewish press coverage of the struggles of Ethiopian Jewry. The materials include correspondence, clippings, notes, drafts, photographs, audiocassettes and posters.
This collection is primarily made up of correspondence and other records of the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ) that remained in the possession of its president (from 1982-1993), Nate Shapiro, after the organization dissolved in 1993. The AAEJ worked from 1974-1993 to assist Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel. The collection also includes Shapiro's personal papers. The Shapiro Papers fall under the broader AAEJ collection.
Founded in 1969, the American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ) was instrumental in the international effort to promote recognition of the Beta Israel (known among non-Jewish Ethiopians as "Falashas") by Israeli authorities, and to assist Jewish emigration from Ethiopia to Israel. The extensive files of the AAEJ include case work files, research materials and Jewish artifacts collected in Ethiopia by AAEJ workers. In the wake of the successful evacuation of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel in 1993, the AAEJ decided to disband and voted to deposit its records at the American Jewish Historical Society. Included are correspondence, office files, photographs, slides, videotapes, audiocassettes and other materials which pertain to AAEJ's efforts to raise the consciousness of the American Jewish community about this unique Jewish subculture. The organization's papers supplement those of its founder, Graenum Berger, which are also held at the American Jewish Historical Society.