Guide to the Records of Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, undated, 1970-1980 (bulk 1970-1974)
*I-56 and *I-56A

Reprocessed by Stephanie Call

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245



© 2015, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Stephanie Call as MS Word document, October 27, 2008. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on November 14, 2008. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Massachusetts Board of Rabbis
Title: Massachusetts Board of Rabbis
Dates:undated, 1970-1980 (bulk 1970-1974)
Abstract: The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis was founded in 1938 as the Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston by Rabbis Herman Rubenovitz, Louis Epstein, Joshua Loth Lieberman, Beryl D. Cohen, and Sam Abrams. During the 1970s the Board focused on its chaplaincy work in hospitals as well as timely topics, such as social action, chevruta, and health insurance for Rabbis. This collection contains minutes, correspondence and statements regarding the Board's work around hospital chaplaincy, kashruth, Israel, intermarriage, and the Vietnam War.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 7 linear ft. (14 manuscript box)
Identification: I-56, I-56A
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
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Historical Note1

The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis was founded in 1938 as the Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston by Rabbi Herman Rubenovitz of Mishkan Tefila, who also served as the President for several years. Rabbis Louis Epstein of Kehillath Israel, Joshua Loth Liebman of Temple Israel, Beryl D. Cohen of Temple Sinai, and Sam Abrams of Ohabei Shalom were co-founders of the organization.

In the 1970s, the organization focused on topics concurrent with the time, including chevruta, social action, and an insurance program for Rabbis. It also continued to maintain its chaplaincy services, which sent Rabbis to hospitals to provide spiritual care to patients.

1 Historical Note based on documents in the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis Collection and the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis website,, accessed 27 October 2008.

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Scope and Content Note

Scope and Content Note for I-56

This collection includes correspondence between officers and other members regarding various activities of the Board, as well as minutes to meetings and committee documents. Numerous statements and resolutions regarding Kashruth, intermarriage, Israel and the Vietnam War are also included. The collection also contains information relating to the media.

Scope and Content Note for I-56A

This addendum contains materials collectively donated by the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (MBR) and the Associated Synagogues of Massachusetts (ASM). The two organizations worked closely together on a variety of issues, as the MBR was located in the same building as the ASM. However, since the bulk of the records indicate closer ties to the work of the MBR and provenance is not clear, the records have been organized as an addendum to the original MBR collection in the AJHS-New England archives.

Records in this collection include correspondence of several Boston Rabbis, including Rabbis David Weiss, Ephraim Bennett, Leo Shubow and Albert Gordon. There is also information pertaining to Kashruth and the role of the Rabbinical Council of New England during the Queen Elizabeth II cruise to Israel in the mid-1970s, as well as newsletters and bulletins from both ASM and MRB. In addition to administrative records and correspondence, the bulk of the collection contains miscellaneous subject files relating to topics of interest to the Boston Jewish community.

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Part One of the collection (I-56) is arranged in four series as follows:

Part Two of the collection (I-56A) is arranged in five series as follows:

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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 Executive Director 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, NY, 10011

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Related Material

Rabbi David Alpert Papers, P-82

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Massachusetts Board of Rabbis; I-56, I-56A; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Donated to AJHS by Rabbi Harry Roth.

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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.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Part I, Series I: Correspondence, undated, 1969-1974

The Series is in English.
2 folders. Box 1.


Scope and Content:

This series contains correspondence between officers and Rabbis in the community regarding various issues affecting the organization. Reminder letters to meetings, informational memorandums, and membership information is included.

1 1 General undated, 1969-1971 request_box
1 2 General 1972-1974 request_box
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Part I, Series II: Governance, undated, 1969-1980

The Series is in English.
3 folders. Box 1.

Alphabetical by sub-series.

Scope and Content:

This series provides information on the activities of the Advisory Council, which focused on hospital chaplaincy, and the Sabbath Programming Committee. Minutes to meetings are also included.

1 3 Committees/Advisory Council 1970-1980 request_box
1 4 Committees/Sabbath Programming Committee 1969-1970 request_box
1 5 Minutes undated, 1970-1972 request_box
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Part I, Series III: Media and Broadcasting, 1970-1972

The Series is in English.
1 folder. Box 1.


Scope and Content:

This series contains information on the Media & Broadcasting conference of 1971 as well as other activities of the media and its relationship with the Jewish community.

1 6 General 1970-1972 request_box
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Part I, Series IV: Statements and Resolutions, undated, 1970-1972

The Series is in English.
5 folders. Box 1.

Alphabetical by sub-series.

Scope and Content:

This series contains information relating to the numerous statements issued by the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis in the early 1970s, including statements on the Jewish community's position on Israel, the Vietnam War and former President Richard Nixon, kashruth policies, funeral services, and intermarriage (mixed marriage.) Of particular interest is a strongly worded letter revoking the kosher license of a Framingham, Massachusetts restaurant.

1 7 Funeral Services undated, 1971 request_box
1 8 Israel 1970-1971 request_box
1 9 Kashruth 1970-1971 request_box
1 10 Mixed Marriages 1971-1972 request_box
1 11 Vietnam War undated request_box
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Part II, Series I: Activities and Events, undated, 1958-1974

The Series is in English.
Box 1 -- Box 2, Folder 7.
Scope and Content:

This series contains information pertaining to activities conducted by the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, including their collaborations with Congregation Kehillath Jacob in Newton, Massachusetts, Jewish Family and Children's Services, and the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health. Published bulletins and information on the renovations of their headquarters on Tremont Street in Boston are also included in this series.

1 1 Association of Mental Hospital Chaplains undated, 1960-1968 request_box
1 2 Building Development undated, 1967-1968 request_box
1 3 Bulletins undated, 1957-1970 request_box
1 4 Combined Jewish Philanthropies undated, 1967-1970 request_box
1 5-6 Congregation Kehillath Jacob (Newton, Massachusetts) undated, 1970-1974 request_box
2 1 Congregation Kehillath Jacob (Newton, Massachusetts) undated, 1972-1974 request_box
2 2 Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, Inc. undated, 1968-1969 request_box
2 3 Jewish Family and Children’s Services undated, 1961-1969 request_box
2 4 Kashruth undated, 1958-1964 request_box
2 5 Massachusetts Association for Mental Health 1968-1969 request_box
2 6 Massachusetts Board of Rabbis Installation 1965 request_box
2 7 Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ 1969 request_box
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Part II, Series II: Associated Synagogues, undated, 1956-1976

The Series is in English.
Box 2, Folder 8 -- Box 5, Folder 6.
Scope and Content:

This series contains the records likely donated by the Associated Synagogues of Massachusetts, and includes materials pertaining to collaborations with other agencies, finances, meetings and events, and correspondence. Also included in this series are materials related to the Queen Elizabeth II cruise to Israel, which was sponsored in part by the Associated Synagogues. Information about the Rabbinical Council of New England, which served as the Kashruth governance of the Associated Synagogues, is also included in this series. The Rabbinical Council was responsible for ensuring kosher food preparation and services were provided to passengers aboard the ship.

2 8 27th Annual Meeting undated, 1968 request_box
2 9-10 28th Annual Meeting undated, 1968-1969 request_box
3 1 29th Annual Meeting undated, 1970 request_box
3 2 Boston School Committee 1969 request_box
3 3 Boston Students Guide 1969-1970 request_box
3 4 Brotherhoods undated, 1956-1970 request_box
3 5 Bulletins 1969 request_box
3 6 Cathedral in the Pines 1956-1957 request_box
3 7 Center Club-Center House Foundation 1969-1970 request_box
3 8 Certificate and Notices undated, 1963-1969 request_box
3 9 Correspondence, Minutes and Reports undated, 1958-1965 request_box
3 10 Correspondence/Rabbi Weiss 1969 request_box
3 11 Correspondence/Record American Sunday Advertiser 1969 request_box
3 12 Dr. Max Ritvo Memorial Fund undated, 1964-1970 request_box
3 13 Financial Statements 1965-1969 request_box
3 14 Jewish Family and Children’s Services/Adoption (restricted) 1956-1958 request_box
3 15 Luncheon-Study Group undated, 1968-1969 request_box
3 16 Memos/Rabbi Weiss undated request_box
3 17 Mirimar Film Library 1969-1970 request_box
3 18 Mortgage undated, 1969 request_box
3 19 National Association of Jewish Chaplains 1969 request_box
3 20 Northeastern University 1967-1968 request_box
3 21 Program Committee 1969-1970 request_box
4 1 Project Place undated, 1968 request_box
4 2-6 Queen Elizabeth II Cruise undated, 1971-1975 request_box
4 7 Rabbi Weiss/Counseling Correspondence (restricted) 1968-1969 request_box
5 1-5 Rabbinical Council of New England/Queen Elizabeth II Cruise undated, 1972-1976 request_box
5 6 Statements undated request_box
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Part II, Series III: Correspondence, undated, 1935-1970

The Series is in English.
Boxes 6-7.
Scope and Content:

This series contains correspondence to and from members of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis. This primarily includes correspondence regarding the daily activities of the MBR, but also a folder of correspondence between the MBR, Rabbi Leo Shubow, and Rabbi Albert Gordon of Temple Emanuel in Newton. During much of this career Rabbi Shubow sought to be recognized and compensated by Temple Emanuel for his role in the development of the Temple as their first Rabbi. Also, please note that folders 3-5 and 7 have been restricted due to sensitive health insurance and financial information.

6 1 Beth Israel Hospital 1963-1964 request_box
6 2 Big Brother Association 1962 request_box
6 3-5 Blue Cross-Blue Shield (restricted) undated, 1963-1969 request_box
6 6 Brooks, Senator Edward 1969 request_box
6 7 Chaplaincy 1955-1961 request_box
6 8 Dorchester-Mattapan-Roxbury undated, 1969-1970 request_box
6 9-11 General 1963-1966 request_box
7 1 General, A-K undated, 1962-1963 request_box
7 2 General, L-Z undated, 1962-1963 request_box
7 3 Jewish Chaplaincy Council 1962-1963 request_box
7 4 Letter from Rabbi Gittelsohn regarding Cantors 1963 request_box
7 5 Mayor’s Office on Human Rights 1969 request_box
7 6 Rabbi Leo Shubow vs. Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA 1935-1969 request_box
7 7 Solomon Schechter Day School Scholarships (restricted) 1967-1970 request_box
7 8 United Rabbinic Chaplaincy Commission 1962-1963 request_box
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Part II, Series IV: Governance and Finance, undated, 1964-1971

The Series is in English.
Box 8, Folders 1-4.
Scope and Content:

This series contains budgetary and other financial information for the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, including correspondence related to their finances.

8 1 Budget undated, 1969-1970 request_box
8 2 City Bank Loan 1968-1969 request_box
8 3 Financial Correspondence, Memos, Payment Lists undated, 1967-1969 request_box
8 4 Insurance 1964-1971 request_box
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Part II, Series V: Subject Files, undated, 1936-1970

The Series is in English.
Box 8, Folder 5 -- Box 13, Folder 16.
Scope and Content:

This series contains information on a variety of issues that concerned the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, including abortion, alcoholism and addiction, families and children, and anti-Semitism, as well as materials on various organizations. Included in this series is the correspondence between the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, and the Associated Synagogues of Massachusetts about donating records to AJHS. Some folders include relevant actions taken by the MBR, but many are focused on information that might impact or affect the work of the MBR.

8 5 Abortion undated, 1965-1969 request_box
8 6 Achiezer undated request_box
8 7 Adult Education 1968 request_box
8 8 AHAD HA’AM undated, 1951, 1957 request_box
8 9 Alcoholism undated, 1956-1970 request_box
8 10 American Council for Judaism 1956 request_box
8 11 American Jewish Community undated, 1955-1959 request_box
8 12 American Jewish Historical Society undated, 1969-1970 request_box
8 13 Artificial Insemination 1958 request_box
8 14 Asch, Sholom 1951-1957 request_box
8 15 ATOM undated request_box
8 16 Bar-Ilan University undated, 1955 request_box
9 1 Bar Mitzvah undated, 1955-1967 request_box
9 2 Borochou, Ber undated, 1950 request_box
9 3 Bible undated, 1956-1957 request_box
9 4 Birth Control 1959 request_box
9 5 Black Anti-Semitism undated, 1968-1969 request_box
9 6 Brandeis, Louis D. 1956 request_box
9 7 Capital Punishment 1956-1969 request_box
9 8 Chaplains undated, 1968-1970 request_box
9 9 Childbirth Education undated, 1960-1968 request_box
9 10 Christianity and Judaism undated, 1954-1968 request_box
9 11 Christian Science 1940 request_box
9 12 Christmas undated, 1959-1968 request_box
9 13 Churchill undated request_box
9 14 Committee of Responsibility/Vietnam undated, 1967-1968 request_box
9 15 Counseling undated, 1954-1958 request_box
10 1 Drugs 1968-1970 request_box
10 2 Education undated, 1958-1970 request_box
10 3 Ethics undated, 1958 request_box
10 4 Faith undated, 1954 request_box
10 5 Family undated, 1947-1952 request_box
10 6 Freedom 1954-1956 request_box
10 7 Gluckel of Hameln 1951 request_box
10 8 God 1954-1958 request_box
10 9 Gordon, Aaron David undated request_box
10 10 Havurat Shalom Seminary undated, 1968-1969 request_box
10 11 Hebrew Language undated request_box
10 12 Hebrew University undated, 1947-1956 request_box
10 13 High Holy Days Services 1969 request_box
10 14 Hillel Foundation undated, 1956-1970 request_box
10 15 Hippies undated, 1968 request_box
10 16 Histadrut 1958 request_box
11 1 Interfaith Bible Readings undated, 1964-1970 request_box
11 2 Israel undated, 1950-1970 request_box
11 3 Jerusalem 1953-1955 request_box
11 4 Jesus undated request_box
11 5-6 Jewish Community Relations Council undated, 1967-1970 request_box
11 7 (The) Jewish Defense League undated, 1969-1970 request_box
11 8 John Birch Society undated request_box
11 9 Judaism Quarterly undated, 1961 request_box
11 10 Juvenile Delinquency undated, 1958 request_box
11 11 Kaplan, Mordecai 1953 request_box
11 12 Ketubah undated, 1936-1955 request_box
11 13 Lilien, E.M. 1953 request_box
11 14 Lincoln, Abraham undated request_box
11 15 Maimonides School undated, 1969-1970 request_box
11 16 Missionary Material undated, 1958 request_box
11 17 Moral Standards 1953 request_box
11 18 Mormonism undated request_box
11 19 Mourning 1949-1954 request_box
11 20 N.A.A.C.P. undated, 1962-1963 request_box
11 21 Neturei Karta 1956 request_box
11 22 Nobel-Agnon-Sachs undated, 1966 request_box
11 23 Opportunities Industrialization Centers of Greater Boston 1969 request_box
12 1 (President) John F. Kennedy 1960-1962 request_box
12 2 Project Equality- JCRC undated, 1968-1969 request_box
12 3 Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Marriage and Family undated, 1954-1960 request_box
12 4 Radio and Television undated, 1948-1950 request_box
12 5 Reform Judaism undated request_box
12 6 Religion and Schools undated, 1960-1970 request_box
12 7 Religion Today undated, 1950 request_box
12 8 Religion and Mental Health undated, 1969 request_box
12 9 Richardson, Elliot 1969 request_box
12 10 Samaritans undated, 1955 request_box
12 11 Schechter, Solomon undated, 1945-1952 request_box
12 12 Science undated, 1957 request_box
12 13 Scouting 1950-1967 request_box
12 14 Secularism 1952 request_box
13 1 Shabbat undated request_box
13 2 Shehita 1958-1969 request_box
13 3 Soviet Jewry undated, 1964-1970 request_box
13 4 Syrkin, Nachman undated request_box
13 5 Teaching undated request_box
13 6 Teenagers 1954 request_box
13 7 Toynbee, Arnold 1955 request_box
13 8 United Community Services 1968 request_box
13 9-10 United Synagogue of America undated, 1952-1978 request_box
13 11 U.S. Government undated request_box
13 12 Warsaw Ghetto undated, 1969 request_box
13 13 Weizmann, Chaim 1952-1953 request_box
13 14 Welfare, undated 1968-1969 request_box
13 15 Werner, Alfred 1946-1953 request_box
13 16 Yiddish 1946 request_box
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