Guide to the Papers of Abraham Silverstein,
undated, 1975-1976, 1985, 1987-1989, 1994

*P-947

Processed by Andrey Filimonov

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Andrey Filimonov in October 2012. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Silverstein, Abraham
Title: Abraham Silverstein Papers
Dates:undated, 1975-1976, 1985, 1987-1989, 1994
Abstract: The collection contains papers Abraham Silverstein, an American Soviet Jewry movement activist who co-founded and co-chaired the Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies, an agency that prepared educational shortwave radio programs for Jews in the Soviet Union. The materials include correspondence, memos, project descriptions and reports, news clippings, transcripts of lectures, research materials and 18 audiocassettes with recordings of the programs.
Languages: The collection is in English, Russian and Hebrew.
Quantity: 1/2 linear foot (1 manuscript box).
Identification: *P-947
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

The Papers of Abraham Silverstein is 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 movement 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.

A Russian-born engineer of White Plains, NY, Abraham Silverstein co-founded and co-chaired the Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies, an American agency that prepared educational shortwave radio programs for Jews in the Soviet Union. The project was initiated when Silverstein—an American Jewish Committee to Moscow delegation member in 1983—met with Soviet Jews to discuss their cultural and spiritual needs.

The several hundred half-hour programs produced by the Academy were researched by leading American and Israeli scholars, translated to Russian, and recorded by Russian actors. They focused on Jewish literature, religion, history, culture and philosophy and were broadcast by Kol Israel, the Israel Broadcast Authority. The subject covered by the programs included the history of the Second Temple, Yiddish literature, portraits of Biblical figures, Jewish mysticism, including cabala and Hasidism, American Jewish writers and other topics.

The agency's academic advisory board was headed by Jane Gerber, professor of Jewish Studies at the City University of New York and included Elie Wiesel, who contributed programs on the Holocaust. Working for a community that had been deprived of any possibility of Jewish education for decades, the Academy offered to the Soviet Jews the opportunity to connect with their heritage and the much needed moral support. The regular listeners included Refuseniks and Prisoners of Conscience, such as Ida Nudel, who tuned in to the programs while she was in Siberian exile.

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Scope and Content Note

The papers of Abraham Silverstein contain documents pertaining to the creation and operation of the Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies. The materials include correspondence, memos, project descriptions and reports, news clippings, transcripts of lectures, research materials and 18 audiocassettes with recordings of the programs.

The collection consists of one manuscript box.

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Arrangement

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Access and Use

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

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, N.Y., 10011 email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

The Papers of Abraham Silverstein 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), Chicago Action for Soviet Jewry (I-530), Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (I-538), 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 S. Kreshtool (P-935), Betty Golomb (P-938), Grace Perlbinder (P-942), Mort Yadin (P-943), Ann Polunsky (P-886), Lillian Foreman (P-945) and Marilyn Labendz(P-946).

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 Newton Centre, 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).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Abraham Silverstein Papers; *P-947; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Heda Silverstein in 2009.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Papers of Abraham Silverstein, undated, 1975-1976, 1985, 1987-1989, 1994

English, Russian and Hebrew.
1 manuscript box.
Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content Note.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies: Educational Materials [1 of 2] undated
  (contains Russian)   
1 2 Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies: Educational Materials [2 of 2] undated, 1988-1989
  (contains Russian)   
1 3 Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies: Project Description undated, 1985-1987
1 4 American Jewish Committee, The 1989
1 5 C.V., Business Card, Letterhead undated, 1989
1 6 Clippings undated, 1989, 1994
1 7 Correspondence undated, 1975, 1976
1 8 Maas, Richard (contains 1 photograph) 1989
1 9 MILI, The Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies September 1988
  (contains Hebrew)   
1 10 MILI, The Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies September 1989
  (contains Hebrew)   
1 11 National Conference on Soviet Jewry: Soviet Jewry Research Bureau 1988
1 12 Recordings of the Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies Programs, 10 Audiocassettes undated
  (contains Russian and Hebrew)   
1 13 Recordings of the Academy of the Air for Jewish Studies Programs, 8 Audiocassettes undated
  (contains Russian and Hebrew)   
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