Guide to the Records of Institute for Jewish Life (1972-1976), undated, 1967, 1969-1976
 
*I-168

Reprocessed by Marvin Rusinek

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.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Marvin Rusinek as MS Word document, June 2011. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on June 30, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Institute for Jewish Life
Title: Institute for Jewish Life, records
Dates:undated, 1967, 1969-1976
Abstract: Contains the minutes of the Board of Directors (Trustees) meetings (1972-1975) and staff meetings (1972-1973), background materials and reports pertaining to projects proposed and acted upon, annual reports, financial reports and miscellaneous publications.
Languages: The collection is in English and Yiddish.
Quantity: 5.5 linear feet (11 manuscript boxes)
Identification: I-168
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

Institute for Jewish Life (1972-1976)

The Institute for Jewish Life (IJL) was created to enhance the quality of Jewish life in North America. At a 1968 Council for Jewish Federations (CJF) General Assembly, Gordon Zacks called for a $100 million fund to be established "to experiment with ways and means for assuring the creative continuation of American Jewish life.1" In November 1969, 300 concerned Jewish college students and faculty rallied for a radical change in the community's commitment to Jewish education and culture in front of the CJF General Assembly in Boston. At that Assembly, Gordon Zacks spoke about the creation of an independent National Foundation for Developing Jewish Identity.

The CJF Board of Directors took this proposal under consideration. A task force assessed whether such an endeavor could "effectively apply the substance of Judaism to create life styles that would satisfy and fulfill the needs of present and future generations.2" The Task Force on Jewish Identity, headed by Irving Blum and Hillel Levine, grew out of years of concern by many people of all forms of Jewish life. It surveyed the diverse views and sent recommendations to local Jewish communities for review. Blum and his group proposed a new instrument, a Fund of Jewish Life, which could affect "the total fabric of Jewish life and the influences which shape its quality.3" There was an obvious agreement on the great urgency of the need among the 38 cities surveyed. The recommendations were presented at the 1970 General Assembly. The IJL was created and approved by the almost unanimous decision of the November 1971 General Assembly held in Pittsburgh. The IJL was a major achievement of both the Board of Directors and the 1969 General Assembly.

The IJL was created in 1972 to seek and develop innovative programs that will "strengthen and enhance the quality of Jewish life.4" The IJL worked closely with organizations active in the field to achieve desired goals. The IJL operated under the supervision of the CJF, guided by the Board of Trustees selected by the CJF, responsible to and reporting regularly to the CJF Board, and was composed of persons reflecting a broad spectrum of Jewish life. The Trustees determined projects that would be funded and to what extent. The IJL's success depended on what it could do nationally as well as locally. The objective of the IJL is "the development of a productive and fulfilling Jewish life for our people, enriching the nations of which we are a part, and helping to enrich Jewish life everywhere.5"

The IJL assisted in setting up a new framework that would account for a variety of influences and ideas across a number of fields and overcome the fragmentation. The IJL was open to a wide range of approaches. It operated in educational and cultural fields and in other areas with the most potential for enhancing Jewish life, improving existing agencies with innovative projects, experiments and demonstrations. The IJL did not duplicate or compete with existing organizations but rather used them as fully as possible. Irving Blum urged the Federations not to look for quick results to complex problems. Max Fisher, the CJF president, emphasized that the IJL would be dealing with some of the most difficult problems and needs in Jewish life and that there would be no quick panacea.

Irving Blum was named chairman of the IJL. Blum, along with Philip Bernstein of the CJF, appointed Prof. Leon A. Jick as its first director in 1972. Jick was succeeded by Kenneth D. Roseman of Hebrew Union College in 1974. Jerold C. Hoffberger replaced Blum as chairman. A distinguished governing board of 73 members was selected from more than 400 recommended from Jewish communities across the U.S.6 Daniel Margolis (Assistant Director) and Robert Lapidus (Administrative Staff) started the work of the Institute. The IJL was endorsed by more than 230 Jewish community organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The first major test of the IJL was whether innovative projects could come to the forefront from organizations and individuals and whether they could be implemented. 161 formal project proposals were considered. The IJL received proposals for experimental projects from communities, organizations and individuals. It helped design projects to encourage new models and approaches. The IJL trained laymen and professionals for leadership responsibilities, and specialists to supervise innovations.7

The Institute targeted five major areas of concern: education; family life; leadership development and community organization; Israel as an education resource for American Jewry; and the arts, culture, and media. Federations contributed close to $1 million to the IJL. The Institute allocated $2 million for 44 projects regarded as being most promising and having the greatest chance for success.

The IJL granted fellowships to students interested in furthering their studies and obtaining positions of Jewish leadership (Fellowships in Jewish Educational Leadership a.k.a. FIJEL). It created a Media Project that served as a demonstration of how a centralized, national Jewish media center may serve the entire U.S. and Canadian Jewish community. The IJL funded and promoted projects designed to involve adults and children in more intensive forms of Jewish living.8

The IJL published a series of reports on its findings. The Institute's staff visited the communities across North America to assist with the re-creation of its most successful programs. The IJL was created for an initial period of three years. At the end of the third year, an evaluation found that the period was too short to judge the experience and its existence was extended to a fourth year. There was ongoing debate due to the extreme differences between community leaders and staff of the educational and cultural agencies. Doubts were expressed over a lack of financial support - the support provided from foundations and individuals fell far short of the monies needed.

The performance of the IJL was assessed. A consensus was reached that the IJL created a number of innovative projects of superior quality, served as a catalyst for new efforts both nationally and locally, and helped change the life of American Jewish communities. Many questions were posed about the necessity of setting up an organization for research and development for these purposes. The questions centered on how to bolster creativity within the Jewish communities.

After reconsidering their options, the Federations decided not to convert the Institute from a temporary demonstration to a permanent organization. The Federations advised the CJF to seek greater coordination and suggested a merger of the primary national organizations to ensure continuation of the most important national programs. The IJL closed in June 1976. FIJEL was taken over and continued by the American Association for Jewish Education (AAJE). The Jewish Media Service became managed by the Jewish Welfare Board, with the CJF and United Jewish Appeal as its sponsors. The CJF continued to help communities by replicating the most successful projects.9

In a report, "Venture in Creativity," the IJL emphasized that progress in improving Jewish identity is a step-by-step process.10 It also stated that many components that make up the quality of Jewish life, rather than any one element, would have to be strengthened to shape the paths for the future.

Footnotes

1 National Jewish Post and Opinion, New York, NY. "Institute of Jewish Life Gets 1, Not 5 Years More." [October 25, 1974]

2 Bernstein, Philip. To Dwell In Unity: The Jewish Federation Movement in America Since 1960. pp. 134. Varda Books: 2002.

3 Review and Prospect: The Institute for Jewish Life, February 1974 (I-168, Box 11, Folder 5)

4 "Institute for Jewish Life Gets Under Way; Prof. Jick Named Director" (http://archive.jta.org/article/1972/03/21/2960834/institute-for-jewish-life-gets-under-way-prof-jick-named-director)

5 Bernstein, pp. 135.

6 Bernstein, pp. 135-136.

7 Brochure: Institute for Jewish Life. (I-168, Box 11, Folder 5)

8 Cleveland Jewish News. "Future Appears Dark for Institute for Jewish Life."

9 Bernstein, pp. 139.

10 Bernstein, pp. 139.

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Scope and Content Note

The Institute for Jewish Life collection contains the minutes of the Board of Directors (Trustees) meetings (1972-1975) and staff meetings (1972-1973), background materials and reports pertaining to projects proposed and acted upon, annual reports, financial reports and miscellaneous publications.

Types of material in the collection include articles, correspondence, meeting minutes, pamphlets, photographs, press releases, proposals, publications, and reports.

The papers are valuable to researchers studying these aspects of Jewish history: Israel, Jewish community, Jewish education, Jewish family life, Jewish identity, Jewish leadership, media, social work, and Zionism.

The collection is in English and Yiddish.

The collection is arranged into five series.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 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 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, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

Concerned Jewish Students of Greater Boston (AJHS I-157, Boston, MA)
Jewish Media Service (Wellesley, MA) (AJHS I-456, Boston, MA)
Jewish Media Service (AJHS I-513, New York, NY)
Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds (AJHS I-69, New York, NY)
Jewish Educational Service of North America (AJHS I-75, New York, NY)
Leon Jick Papers at Brandeis University (MWalB0200A)

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Institute for Jewish Life, records; I-168; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Unknown.

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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.

 

Series I: Meetings, undated, 1972-1975

English.
Boxes 1-4.
Arrangement:

Arranged into four subseries.

Scope and Content:

The series is composed of minutes of board meetings, planning committee meetings, staff meetings and other meetings.

Subseries A: Board Meetings, 1972-1975

English.
Box 1, Folder 1 - Box 2, Folder 7.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains board meetings minutes and correspondence.

BoxFolderTitleDate
1 1 Board Meeting June 1, 1972
1 2 Board Meeting October 15, 1972
1 3 Board Meeting February 25, 1973
1 4 Board Meeting June 14, 1973
1 5 Board Meeting October 14, 1973
1 6 Board Meeting December 16, 1973
1 7 Board Meeting May 1, 1974
BoxFolderTitleDate
2 1 Board Meeting June 12, 1974
2 2 Board Meeting September 15, 1974
2 3 Board Meeting March 13, 1975
2 4 Board Meeting June 5, 1975
2 5 Board Meeting September 10, 1975
2 6 Board Correspondence 1972
2 7 Board Correspondence 1973-1975

Subseries B: Planning Committee Meetings, 1973-1974

English.
Box 2, Folders 8-10.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries is composed of planning committee meeting minutes from 1973 to 1974.

BoxFolderTitleDate
2 8 Planning Committee Meeting June 14, 1973
2 9 Planning Committee Meeting October 2, 1973
2 10 Planning Committee Meeting February 26, 1974

Subseries C: Staff Meetings, 1972-1973

English.
Box 3, Folders 1-8.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries has staff meeting minutes from 1972 to 1973.

BoxFolderTitleDate
3 1 Staff Meeting, June 1, 1972 1972
3 2 Staff Meeting, September 12, 1972 1972
3 3 Staff Meeting, December 11, 1972 1972
3 4 Staff Meeting, February 5, 1973 1973
3 5 Staff Meeting, April 2-3, 1973 1973
3 6 Staff Meeting, May 21-22, 1973 1973
3 7 Staff Meeting, September 4-5, 1973 1973
3 8 Staff Meeting, December 11-12, 1973 1973

Subseries D: Other Meetings, undated, 1972-1974

English.
Box 4, Folders 1-8.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains meeting minutes of other committees from 1972 to 1974.

BoxFolderTitleDate
4 1 Fund Committee Meeting May 22, 1973
4 2 General Assembly Meeting 1974
4 3 Meeting - American Jewish Committee - September 21, 1972 1972
4 4 Public Relations Conference May 8, 1973 1973
4 5 Sidorsky-Elazar Meeting, October 2, 1972 1972
4 6 Staff and Advisory Council Meeting, February 19, 1974 undated, 1973-1974
4 7 Study Committee Meeting (incl. Gurin Report) August 12-13, 1974
4 8 Study Committee Meeting August 12-13, 1974
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Series II: Project Proposals - Background Material and Reports, undated, 1969-1976

English and Yiddish.
Box 5, Folder 1 - Box 10, Folder 14.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by project number.

Scope and Content:

The series contains background material and reports for 157 projects proposed to the IJL. Project folders are titled by project codes. Please consult the master project list (Box 5, Folder 1) to understand the categorization of projects.

BoxFolderTitleDate
5 1 Project Master Lists undated
5 2 Project descriptions undated
5 3 Project guidelines undated
5 4 Project A-18 1972
5 5 Project A-19 1972
5 6 Project A-20 1972
5 7 Project A-21 1973
5 8 Project A-31 1972-1973
5 9 Project A-32 1973
  (contains Yiddish)   
5 10 Project A-36 1973
  (contains Yiddish)   
5 11 Project A-37 1973-1974
5 12 Project A-38 1974
5 13 Project A-39 1974
5 14 Project A-40 1972
5 15 Project A-60 1972
5 16 Project A-75 1973
5 17 Project A-84 1973
5 18 Project A-90 undated
5 19 Project A-121 1973
5 20 Project A-125 1973-1974
5 21 Project A-126 1974
5 22 Project A-151 undated, 1974-1975
5 23 Project A-152 1974-1975
5 24 Project A-153 (Rejected) 1974-1975
5 25 Project A-154 (Rejected) undated, 1974-1975
5 26 Project A-155 undated, 1974-1975
5 27 Project A-156 undated, 1974-1975
5 28 Project A-157 (Rejected) 1974
5 29 Project A-158 1975
5 30 Project A-159 1975
5 31 Project C-14 1973-1974
5 32 Project C-20 undated, 1972-1973
5 33 Project C-30 1972
5 34 Project C-32 undated, 1973
5 35 Project C-40 undated, 1972
  (contains Yiddish)   
5 36 Project C-50 1972
5 37 Project C-61 1972
5 38 Project C-80 1972
5 39 Project C-90 undated, 1972
5 40 Project C-104 1972
5 41 Project C-109 (Allied Jewish Community Services of Montreal) undated, 1973-1974
5 42 Project C-110 undated, 1975
5 43 Project C-113 1973
5 44 Project C-115 (Rejected) 1973
5 45 Project C-116 1974
5 46 Project C-117 1973-1974
5 47 Project C-118 1974
5 48 Project C-120 1972
5 49 Project C-130 (Year to Encounter Jews and Judaism) 1972
5 50 Project C-131 (Operation Reach Out) (Rejected) undated, 1973
5 51 Project C-132 undated, 1973
5 52 Project C-140 (Lapidus Communal Agency Workshop) undated, 1972
5 53 Project C-142 1973-1974
5 54 Project C-143 (Project Ezra) undated, 1973-1975
BoxFolderTitleDate
6 1 Project E-20 1972
6 2 Project E-25 (Summer Camp) 1973
6 3 Project E-40 (coop. ed.) 1972
6 4 Project E-61 undated
6 5 Project E-76 undated, 1972-1973
6 6 Project E-90 1972
6 7 Project E-91 undated, 1973-1974
6 8 Project E-101 1973-1974
6 9 Project E-102 1974
6 10 Project E-110 1972
6 11 Project E-121 1974
6 12 Project E-122 undated
6 13 Project E-123 undated, 1973
6 14 Project E-130 undated
6 15 Project E-140 ("University Without Walls") undated, 1972-1973
6 16 Project E-141 1972-1974
6 17 Project E-151 undated, 1972-1974
6 18 Project E-160 1972
6 19 Project E-165 1972-1973
6 20 Project E-175 undated
6 21 Project E-177 1971-1973
6 22 Project E-178 undated, 1972-1973
6 23 Project E-180 undated
6 24 Project E-186 undated, 1975
6 25 Project E-188 circa 1973
6 26 Project E-190 undated
6 27 Project E-191 1973
6 28 Project E-195 1972-1973
6 29 Project E-200 (Shalom Project) 1972-1973
6 30 Project E-207 undated, 1975-1976
6 31 Project E-220 1972
6 32 Project E-222 1972-1973
6 33 Project E-230 1972-1973
6 34 Project E-240 undated, 1969, 1972
6 35 Project E-242 1972
BoxFolderTitleDate
7 1 Project E-244 undated, 1972-1974
7 2 Project E-245 undated
7 3 Project E-246 1973
7 4 Project E-247 undated, 1973
7 5 Project E-249 (Beth Israel Center, Madison, WI) 1974
7 6 Project E-250 (contains photograph) undated, 1971-1972
7 7 Project E-252 undated
7 8 Project E-260 undated, 1973-1976
  (contains Yiddish)   
7 9 Project E-262 undated
7 10 Project E-268 undated, 1974
7 11 Project E-269 1972
7 12 Project E-270 undated
7 13 Project E-276 1974-1975
7 14 Project E-277 (Dirshu) 1975
7 15 Project E-278 undated, 1974-1975
7 16 Project E-279 (Teaching Hebrew Language Art Skills) undated, 1975
7 17 Project E-280 undated, 1974-1976
7 18 Project E-281 (Rejected) undated, 1974-1975
7 19 Project E-282 (International Torah Corps) (Rejected) 1974-1975
7 20 Project E-283 (Jewish Children's School of Philadelphia) (Rejected) 1973-1974
7 21 Project E-284 1975
7 22 Project E-285 (Melton Teacher Training) 1975
7 23 Project E-286 (Melton Research Center) undated, 1975
7 24 Project E-287 1973, 1975
7 25 Project E-288 1975
7 26 Project E-289 (Tucson Institute of Jewish Learning) undated, 1975
7 27 Project E-290 undated, 1975
7 28 Project E-291 (Seminar in Practical Change) (Rejected) 1975
7 29 Project E-292 (Outreach) (Rejected) undated, 1975
7 30 Project E-293 (Rejected) 1975
7 31 Project E-294 1974-1975
7 32 Project E-295 (Hafoch Ba) (Rejected) undated, 1975
BoxFolderTitleDate
8 1 Project F-10 1973
8 2 Project F-10 Pre-Workshop 1973
8 3 Project F-10 Post-Workshop 1973
8 4 Project F-26 undated
8 5 Project F-28 undated, 1973-1975
8 6-7 Project F-31 1974-1975
8 8 Project F-41 (Rejected) undated, 1972
8 9 Project F-51 undated, 1972-1973
8 10 Project F-61 circa 1974
8 11 Project F-81 1973-1974
8 12 Project F-105 1973-1974
8 13 Project F-107 1974-1975
8 14 Project F-108 (contains photograph) undated, 1974-1976
8 15 Project F-109 undated, 1974-1975
8 16 Project F-110 1972, 1974
BoxFolderTitleDate
9 1 Project F-111 undated, 1975
9 2 Project F-112 undated, 1975
9 3 Project F-113 undated, 1975
9 4 Project F-114 1975
9 5 Project F-115 (Rejected) 1974-1975
9 6 Project F-117 1975
9 7 Project I-10 (Miami Project) undated, 1972-1973, 1975-1976
9 8 Project I-22 undated
9 9 Project I-26 1973
9 10 Project I-27 (Big Brother Association Israel Tour) 1973
9 11 Project I-30 1972-1973
9 12 Project I-60 undated
9 13 Project I-71 undated, 1970, 1974-1976
9 14 Project I-73 undated, 1974-1975
9 15 Project I-74 undated, 1971-1972, 1974
BoxFolderTitleDate
10 1 Project L (Miscellaneous) undated
10 2 Project L-10 undated, 1974-1975
10 3 Project L-10 (Memphis) 1975-1976
10 4 Project L-10 (Minneapolis) undated, 1975-1976
10 5 Project L-10 (Rochester) 1975
10 6 Project L-10 (Worcester) undated, 1975-1976
10 7 Project L-12 1975
10 8 Project M-43 1974
10 9 Project M-44 undated, 1975
10 10 Project Follow-ups undated, 1973-1975
10 11 Unfunded Project Reports undated, 1976
10 12 Miscellaneous Proposals undated, 1973-1975
10 13 Miscellaneous Rejections 1973-1974
10 14 The Media Project 1974
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Series III: Reports and Surveys, undated, 1971-1976

English.
Box 10, Folder 15 - Box 11, Folder 1.
Arrangement:

Arranged into four subseries.

Scope and Content:

The series consists of annual reports, financial reports, progress reports, and surveys.

Subseries A: Annual Reports, 1972-1976

English.
Box 10, Folder 15.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains annual reports of the IJL from 1972 to 1976.

BoxFolderTitleDate
10 15 Annual Reports 1972-1976

Subseries B: Financial Reports, 1972-1975

English.
Box 10, Folder 16.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries has financial reports of the IJL from 1972 to 1975.

BoxFolderTitleDate
10 16 Budget Reports 1972-1975

Subseries C: Progress Reports, 1972-1975

English.
Box 10, Folders 17-18.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains progress reports of the IJL from 1972 to 1975.

BoxFolderTitleDate
10 17 Progress Report October 6, 1972 1972-1973
10 18 Korman Report, January 3, 1975 1974-1975

Subseries D: Surveys, undated, 1971, 1974-1976

English.
Box 10, Folder 19 - Box 11, Folder 1.
Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains the Vincent Survey results from 1974 to 1976.

BoxFolderTitleDate
10 19 Vincent Survey October 1, 1974 1971, 1974
BoxFolderTitleDate
11 1 Vincent Survey October 1, 1974 undated, 1975-1976
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Series IV: Publications, 1967, 1974-1975

English.
Box 11, Folders 2-3.
Arrangement:

Scope and Content:

The series contains publications of the IJL from 1967 and from 1974 to 1975.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11 2 Publication Lists 1975
11 3 Publications 1967, 1974
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Series V: General Files, undated, 1971-1976

English.
Box 11, Folders 4-12.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

This series contains background material about the IJL, correspondence, press releases, and other general files.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11 4 Advisory Council on the Jewish Family undated, 1974-1975
11 5 Background Materials undated, 1971-1972, 1974
11 6 Correspondence 1974-1976
11 7 Directories undated, 1973-1976
11 8 Federation Support undated, 1972-1974
11 9 Miscellaneous Materials undated, 1976
11 10 Play for Jewish Living 1975
11 11 Press Releases undated, 1974-1975
11 12 Staff Community Visits 1974-1975 1975
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