Guide to the Papers of Leonard S. Cahan, 1985-1986

*P-883

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: Cahan, Leonard, S.
Title: Leonard S. Cahan Papers
Dates:1985-1986
Abstract: The papers of Rabbi Leonard S. Cahan focus on the imprisonment of the American Soviet Jewry Movement activist for demonstrating on behalf of Soviet Jews in front of the Soviet embassy in Washington D.C. on May 1st, 1985. Materials include memorandums, correspondence, clippings and brochures.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1 folder
Identification: P-883
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

The Papers of Rabbi Leonard S. Cahan 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.

Rabbi Leonard Cahan of Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Maryland served as president of the Washington Board of Rabbis, which sponsored demonstrations aimed to raise public awareness of the situation of Soviet Jews. During one such event on May 1st, 1985 Cahan with a group of over 20 rabbis and a Lutheran minister was arrested by D.C. police for violating the city code by demonstrating within 500 feet of the embassy, and ignoring police warnings to disperse. Rabbi Cahan was among the 8 rabbis sentenced to six months probation, a $50 fine and a suspended jail term. Five of the rabbis, Leonard Cahan, Steven Bayar, Bruce Khan, David Oler and Mark Levine chose to serve their 15-day sentences in jail, in order to show solidarity with, and stress the plight of the Jews of USSR, oppressed by the Soviet government. The rabbis were released after spending 12 days in the Federal Correctional Institute in Petersburg, VA.

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Scope and Content Note

The papers of Leonard Cahan focus on the imprisonment of the American Soviet Jewry Movement activist for demonstrating on behalf of Soviet Jews in front of the Soviet embassy in Washington D.C. on May 1st, 1985. The collection contains letters and telegrams to Rabbi Cahan from Jewish organizations and individuals, materials of the Washington Board of Rabbis, brochures with prison rules and regulations received by Cahan, paperwork regarding his admission and service at the prison camp, article from local and national press regarding the case. Materials include memorandums, correspondence, clippings and brochures.

The collection consists of one folder.

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Arrangement

The collection consists of one folder.

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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 Rabbi Leonard S. Cahan 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), 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), Elaine Pittell (P-873), Sanford A. Gradinger (P-880) and Shaul Osadchey (P-882).

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); Leonard S. Cahan Papers ; P-883; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Rabbi Leonard S. Cahan and Mrs. Elizabeth Cahan in 2006.

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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 Leonard S. Cahan, 1985-1986

English.
1 folder.
Scope and Content:

See the collection Scope and Content Note.

BoxFolderTitleDate
CB-41Rabbi Leonard S. Cahan Papers1985-1986
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