Guide to the Records of Jewish Community Relations Council Boston-MacIver Report, 1949-1953 (1951-1952)

Reprocessed by Stephanie Call

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Stephanie Call as MS Word document, June 19, 2009. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on July 27, 2009. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jewish Community Relations Council Boston-MacIver Report
Title: Jewish Community Relations Council Boston-MacIver Report, records
Dates:1949-1953 (bulk 1951-1952)
Abstract: This collection contains materials collected by Boston’s JCRC, which monitored the situation as well as participated in the review of the report. Materials include news clippings, written reactions from the organizations, notes and correspondence from JCRC director Robert Segal, and the full report with recommendations, reactions and NCRAC action steps.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes)
Identification: I-78
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
Return to the Top of Page

Historical Note

The MacIver Report was commissioned by the National Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC) in order to ascertain the efficacy of services and interrelationships of specific Jewish community services organizations under the umbrella of NCRAC, which served as their policy making body. These organizations included the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. The Executive Committee of NCRAC adopted a resolution on January 12, 1950 that enabled representatives of the Evaluative Studies Committee (with support from the Large City Budgeting Conference) to select a social scientist, not associated with any Jewish organization, to objectively evaluate the activities, objectives, methodology and results of these particular organizations.

This Evaluative Studies Committee included NCRAC representatives from community Jewish relations councils, who shared four votes between them, including Harry I. Barron of Cleveland (Chairman), Mortimer Brenner of Brooklyn, Sidney Hollander of Baltimore, Leon Mesirov of Philadelphia, Sidney Shevitz of Detroit, Bernard H. Trager of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Lewis H. Weinstein of Boston. National agency representatives, also sharing four votes, included John Slawson of the American Jewish Committee, David Petegorsky of the American Jewish Congress, Samuel H. Nerlove of the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith (Benjamin R. Epstein was an alternative), and Emanuel Muravchik of the Jewish Labor Committee. Also participating in the Committee without voting privileges were Ben Kaufman of the Jewish War Veterans and Rabbi Jay Kaufman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Participating from the Large City Budgeting Conference, and sharing two votes, were Louis J. Cohen of Newark, Samuel A. Goldsmith of Chicago, Ephraim Gomberg of Philadelphia, Arnold Gurin and Harry L. Lurie of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, Isidore Sobeloff of Detroit, Benjamin Ulin of Boston, and Edwin Wolf II of Philadelphia.

Eventually, they chose Dr. Robert M. MacIver, Professor Emeritus and former head of the Sociology Department at Columbia University, to implement and write the evaluative report. As part of the process, Dr. MacIver led a Technical Study Committee of fellow social scientists who were associated with the Jewish organizations under evaluation. The Committee included Dr. Isidor Chein, Director of Research, Commission on Community Interrelations of the American Jewish Congress; Dr. Samuel H. Flowerman, Director of the Scientific Research Department of the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Leo Srole, Director of the Department of Scientific Analysis and Evaluation of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; Dr. Daniel Bell, Social Science Consultant of the Jewish Labor Committee; and Harry L. Lurie, Executive Director of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. The latter was not evaluated by the Committee.

The final report examined the relationship of the national organizations to the local community relations councils as well as NCRAC (which provided leadership to the local community relations councils.) Recommendations were lengthy and focused primarily on the programmatic efforts of the organizations, as well as the relationships between the national organizations, the local community relations councils and local offices of national organizations, and the national and local agencies to NCRAC. Compiled in three sections, Section I contained the process, evaluation and recommendation of Dr. MacIver, and was submitted to NCRAC in May 1951. Section II focused on the reactions of the participating organizations, and Section III identified NCRAC’s action steps based on the recommendations presented in the report.

When the report was released, there was considerable discomfort and disagreement amongst the evaluated Jewish organizations. The American Jewish Committee was particularly unhappy with both the methodology and results of the report, arguing that Dr. MacIver never spoke directly to the directors of the national organizations, and therefore the extent of his recommendations were inappropriate. The organization was also concerned that the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds utilized the report’s recommendations to make funding decisions. The Anti-Defamation League was also quite concerned that Dr. MacIver’s report did not clearly stipulate that the ADL was, first and foremost, a defense organization, and their objectives must be evaluated with this framework. However, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Jewish War Veterans, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations viewed the recommendations favorably. The Large Budgeting Conference accepted the findings and recommendations in the report, and commended Dr. MacIver for his work. However, the American Jewish Committee withdrew from NCRAC in 1952 as a result of the MacIver Report’s findings.


January 12, 1950NCRAC adopts resolution to evaluate its constituent organizations
June 9, 1950Dr. Robert MacIver meets with the NCRAC Special Committee on Evaluative Studies to identify scope and procedures for the study
May 1951Dr. MacIver submits Section I of the report to the NCRAC Special Committee on Evaluative Studies
November 24-26, 1951NCRAC Plenum meets in Atlantic City to discuss recommendations of the report
September 22, 1952The American Jewish Committee withdraws from NCRAC
Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the documents collected by the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council regarding the work of Dr. MacIver, as well as the report and reactions of numerous organizations. As a result, the feedback of the JCRC is more detailed and contains the personal feedback of Director Robert Segal. However, the JCRC was conscientious of the impact of the report on the Jewish community and clearly strove to ensure their records encompassed as many viewpoints as possible. The report is of particular interest, but the various reactions as well as the withdrawal statement from the American Jewish Committee highlights the many concerns of Jewish services organizations in a post-World War II era.

Return to the Top of Page


The collection is arranged into four series as follows:

Return to the Top of Page

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement 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

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Boston Jewish Community Relations Council, I-123
Papers of Lewis Weinstein, P-641

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jewish Community Relations Council Boston-MacIver Report, records; I-78; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to AJHS by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston.

Return to the Top of Page

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 learn more about viewing materials at the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.


Series I: Jewish Community Relations Council Response, 1950-1952

Box 1, Folders 1-3.
Scope and Content:

This series contains correspondence, meeting minutes and memos regarding the MacIver report and the reactions of various individuals and organizations in the Jewish community. Also included in this series are feedback, notes and correspondence from the Director of the JCRC, Robert Segal.

11Memorandums, Meeting Minutes and Misc. Correspondence1951-1952request_box

Subseries I: Segal, Robert, 1950-1952

Box 1, Folders 2-3.
13Feedback and Discussion1951-1952request_box
Return to the Top of Page

Series II: MacIver Report, 1951

Box 1, Folders 4-5.
Scope and Content:

This series contains the full publication of the MacIver report, as well as a draft version of Section I, with notes.

14Full Publication1951request_box
15Section I with Notes1951request_box
Return to the Top of Page

Series III: Organizations’ Response, undated, 1949-1954

Box 1, Folder 6 -- Box 3, Folder 5.
Scope and Content:

This series contains the responses of each of the six national organizations evaluated in the report. Included in this series are official statements from the organizations, as well the published brochure announcing the American Jewish Committee’s withdrawal from NCRAC. Organizations not directly affected by the report also responded, including the Reconstructionist Foundation, the Jewish Theological Society, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and Temple Israel in Boston.

Subseries I: American Jewish Committee, undated, 1951-1953

Box 1, Folders 6-9.
16Analysis of the Barr Planundatedrequest_box
18Statement of Withdrawal from NCRAC1952request_box
19Statement on MacIver Report1951request_box

Subseries II: American Jewish Congress, 1951-1952

Box 2, Folders 1-2.
21“Implementing the MacIver Report” Brochure1952request_box
22Memorandum on the MacIver Report1951request_box

Subseries III: Anti-Defamation League, 1951-1952

Box 2, Folders 3-4.
24“Proposals for Implementation of the Atlantic City Resolutions” (with AJ Committee)1951request_box

Subseries IV: Miscellaneous, undated, 1949-1952, 1954

Box 2, Folders 5 -- Box 3, Folder 5.
25Central Conference of American Rabbis1952request_box
26Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds1949-1952request_box
27Generalundated, 1951-1952request_box
28Jewish Labor Committeeundatedrequest_box
29Jewish Theological Seminary Institute for Religious and Social Study1951request_box
210Jewish War Veterans1951request_box
211-12National Community Relations Advisory Council1951-1952request_box
31Reconstructionist Foundation1951-1952request_box
32Synagogue Council of America1952request_box
33Union of American Hebrew Congregationsundatedrequest_box
34Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America1954request_box
35United Synagogue of America1951request_box
Return to the Top of Page

Series IV: Reports & Speeches, undated, 1951-1953

Box 3, Folders 6-13.
Scope and Content:

This series contains various written material on the MacIver Report, including news clippings, articles, and speeches detailing the issues and concerns brought forward by the report.

36“After the MacIver Report” by Rabbi S. Andhil1953request_box
37“Facts and Myths about Jewish Community Relations” by Philip M. Klutznickundatedrequest_box
38“Jewish Community Relations Work Today”undatedrequest_box
39“MacIver Report- What is Right and what is Wrong with it?” by Abraham Dukerundatedrequest_box
310(The) Menorah Journal1952request_box
311News Clippings1951-1952request_box
313Recommendations & Digest of MacIver Reportundatedrequest_box
Return to the Top of Page