Guide to the Papers of Elaine Pittell (1934- )
undated, 1974-1991, 1993, 1994

*P-873

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 2009. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Pittell, Elaine
Title: Elaine Pittell Papers
Dates:undated, 1974-1991, 1993, 1994
Dates:bulk 1975-1988
Abstract: Papers of Elaine Pittell cover the period from mid-1970’s to early 1990’s and document her and her husband’s Robert Pittell’s activities as the Chair of the Jewish Federation of South Broward’s Soviet Jewry Committee. The documents include correspondence, memos, minutes, publications, news clippings, audiocassettes, videocassette, disc negatives and pins.
Languages: The collection is in English, Russian and Finnish.
Quantity: 0.75 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 half manuscript box)
Identification: P-873
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

The Papers of Elaine Pittell represent 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 Movements 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.

Elaine Pittell became inspired to get involved in the Soviet Jewry Movement in 1969, after reading an open letter from a group of Soviet Jews detailing the oppression and intolerance they were subjected to in the USSR. In 1974 she founded the Soviet Jewry Committee as a part of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of South Broward, Forida. As the Chair of the Committee Elain Pittell supervised the implementation of programs such as Adopt-A-Family and Adopt-A-Prisoner, briefing of travelers to the USSR, phone calls and mass mailings of holiday postcards to the Soviet Jews, appeals on their behalf with the Soviet and the American authorities, education of Jewish communities on the Soviet Jewry Movement and many other activities. In 1984 Mrs. and Dr. Pittell traveled to the Soviet Union, visiting many Refusenik families in Moscow and Leningrad. Elaine Pittell was among the 50 representatives from the National Conference on Soviet Jewry who in 1988 flew to Helsinki and met there with the Secretary of State George Shultz, intending to focus the attention of the approaching Soviet-American Summit in Moscow on the plight of Soviet Jews.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection is arranged in two series.

Papers of Elaine Pittell cover the period from mid-1970’s to early 1990’s and document her and her husband’s Robert Pittell’s activities as the Chair of the Jewish Federation of South Broward’s Soviet Jewry Committee. The documents include correspondence, memos, minutes, publications, news clippings, audiocassettes, videocassette, disc negatives and pins.

Sweater with the word “Freedom” woven on the front, back and sleeves, worn by Elaine Pittell on a demonstration in Helsinki during the pre-Summit conference on Behalf of Soviet Jewry can be found in the American Jewish Society museum collection under the accession number 2009.033.

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Arrangement

The collection is divided into two 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, N.Y., 10011 email: reference@ajhs.org reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

The Papers of Elaine Pittell 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) , the Houston Action for Soviet Jewry (I-500) , Medical Mobilization for Soviet Jewry, 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), Si Frumkin (P-871), 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) and Pamela B. Cohen (P-897).

Individual accounts of activities within the Soviet Jewry Movement are preserved in the UJA Oral History Collection (I-433), which includes accounts from members of the following organizations: the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, Bay Area Council on Soviet Jews (BACSJ), Seattle Action for Soviet Jews, Houston Action for Soviet Jews, Chicago Action for Soviet Jews, Colorado Committee of Concern for Soviet Jews and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Interviewees include accounts by Lillian Forman (BACSJ), Ann Polunsky, Morey Schapira, Myrtle Sitowitz, Deborah Turkin, David Waksberg, Sylvia Weinberg and Dolores Wilkenfeld. In addition, posters related to the Soviet Jewry Movement can be found in the Jewish Student Organizations Collection (I-61).

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); Elaine Pittell Papers ; P-873; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Elaine Pittell in 2008.

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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

Folder List

 

Series I: General, 1974-1991, 1993-1994

This series is in English with some Finnish.
10 folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical

Scope and Content:

Series I includes correspondence, memos, minutes, publications and news clippings documenting travels, events, educational programs, projects and other activities aimed to help Soviet Jews and to promote the Soviet Jewry Movement.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Activities of Robert and Elaine Pittellundated, 1975, 1977-1978, 1984-1988
12Booklet on Soviet Jewry Programming for Jewish Communities and Synagogues, Compiled by the Soviet Jewry Committee of South Boward, FL 1976-1977
13Briefing Materials for Travelers to the USSR1987
14Conference on Soviet Jewry1976, 1982-1983, 1985, 1987-1988
15The Helsinki Final Act and the Moscow Summit1988
  

(contains Finnish)

 
16Log of Telegrams Sent to the Soviet Jews, to the USSR Officials and to the US Officials 1974-1987
17Public Action in Support of Soviet Jews1975, 1977, 1987
18Soviet Publications in English Language1984
19Trip Report by the United Jewish Appeal Florida Regional Delegation, April 19841984
110Zeiman Family Caseundated, 1984, 1987-1991, 1993-1994
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Series II: Audiovisual Materials and Pins, undated, 1976, 1977, 1984

This series is in English .
4 folders.
Arrangement:

By Subject

Scope and Content:

Series II contains negatives of the photographs taken during Elaine and Robert Pittell’s trip to USSR in October 1984, audio and video recordings of the events dedicated to the plight of Soviet Jews, including Brussels Conference on Soviet Jewry with speeches by Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Elie Wiesel, and a press conference held for Natan Sharansky and a recorded message from Prisoner of Conscience Ida Nudel. The series also includes nine Soviet Jewry Movement pins and a commemorative pendant.

BoxFolderTitleDate
21Photographs1987-1988
22Disc Negatives: Trip to the USSR, October 19841984
23Audiocassettes (9): Brussels Conference, Press Conference for Anatoly Sharansky, Luncheon with Ted Kennedy, Alan Pollack, Tanya Zeiman undated, 1976-1977
24VHS, Musician Anna Rozovsky Performing a Special Program Dedicated to Her Refusenik Sister Lena Rozovsky, Tel-Ad Studios, Jerusalem undated
25Nine Soviet Jewry Movement Pins, One Metal Star of David Pendant with Text "Hillel Butman: U.S.S.R. Prisoner of Conscience"undated
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