Guide to the Papers of David H. Hill (1921- ), undated, 1958, 1963-1974, 1976, 1979-1998, 2000

*P-888

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 March 2010. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hill, David H.
Title: David H. Hill (1921- ), Papers
Dates:undated, 1958, 1963-1974, 1976, 1979-1998, 2000 (bulk 1963-1990)
Abstract: The collection contains papers of a pioneer activist of the American Soviet Jewry Movement Rabbi David Hill. A New York City Rabbi and businessman Rabbi Hill served as the national president of National Council of Young Israel, member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and an officer of National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Starting 1971 he ran Operation Lifeline, an independently funded outreach program created by NCSJ Commission on Education and Culture to support Jewish life in the USSR and Former Soviet Union. David H. Hill Papers include materials from late 1950s to 2000 and the bulk of the collection represents the time period from 1963 to 1990. The documents include correspondence, memoranda, publications, news clippings, photographs with negatives, ephemera and a poster.
Languages: The collection is in English, Russian, Hebrew, Ukrainian, and Latvian.
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (5 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-888
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Return to the Top of Page

Historical Note

The Papers of Rabbi David H. Hill 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.

One of the pioneers of the American Soviet Jewry Movement, New York City based Rabbi and manufacturer of kosher meat products David Hill came to the USA from Latvia in 1930. Influenced by his family’s fortunate escape from the Holocaust, he became aware and concerned with the situation of the Soviet Jews in the late 1950’s. As the national president of National Council of Young Israel he made attempts to place the issue of Soviet Jewry on the agenda of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as early as 1961. During that period the National Council of Young Israel began financially supporting Jewish life in the USSR by mailing the Soviet Jewish communities packages of goods with high value on the local black market, such as fur and leather garments. During the early 1960s, Rabbi Hill worked hard to explore new ways to help Soviet Jews and raised the issue in meetings with such notable religious and political figures as John F. Kennedy, Golda Meir, Ben Gurion and Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

In 1971 Rabbi Hill became an officer of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, representing the National Council of Young Israel. Starting in the mid-1970s, he helmed Operation Lifeline, an independently funded outreach program created by NCSJ Commission on Education and Culture. The purpose of the program was to help Soviet Jews learn and practice Jewish religion and culture. For that purpose the program shipped and distribute kosher food and Jewish religious and cultural literature in the Soviet Union. It enlisted and subsidized qualified people to travel and teach Hebrew, religion and culture in Soviet Jewish communities. The program briefed and supplied American Jews traveling to the USSR to meet Soviet Jews, collect information on their situation and offer Soviet Jews material and spiritual aid. Among the many successful special projects of the program was supplying kosher food and Haggadot for annual Passover Seders held in the United States Embassy in Moscow and the special delivery of 10,000 pounds of matzo to Ukraine to fulfill a shortage during Passover of 1991. Rabbi David Hill with Operation Lifeline continued supporting Jewish Life in the Former Soviet Union after the collapse of the USSR.

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The collection is divided into three series.

David H. Hill Papers include materials from late 1950s to 2000 and the bulk of the collection represents the time period from 1963 to 1990. The documents include correspondence, memoranda, publications, news clippings, photographs with negatives, ephemera and a poster.

Return to the Top of Page

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three 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 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

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

The Papers of Rabbi David H. Hill 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), Shaul Osadchey (P-882), Leonard S. Cahan (P-883) and Doris H. Goldstein (P-887).

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).

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); David H. Hill (1921- ), Papers; P-888; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Donated by Rabbi David H. Hill in 2006.

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.

 

Series I: Correspondence, Projects and Events, undated, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1971-1973, 1976, 1980-1998, 2000

This series is in English with some Hebrew, Russian and Latvian.
15 folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical

Scope and Content:

Series I includes correspondence of Rabbi David H. Hill and other officers of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry with individual Jews and Jewish organizations in the USSR, the Former Soviet Union and Israel, and with American and Israeli government officials (including two form letters from President Ronald Reagan, addressed to Rabbi David H. Hill). The series also includes resource kits, handouts and photographs from events related to Soviet Jewry Movement, materials related to special projects undertaken by Operation Lifeline, information on Jewish education programs in the USSR and FSU, and American and Israeli press coverage of the activities and events related to Operation Lifeline.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Clippings and Broadsides 1963, 1971, 1976, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2000
  (contains Hebrew)   
12Correspondenceundated, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1980, 1982-1985, 1987, 1989-1991, 1994, 1996, 1997
  (contains Hebrew)   
13Events1967, 1980, 1984, 1986, 1998
14Memos, Minutes and Notesundated, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1997
15National Conference on Soviet Jewry Board of Governors Meeting, Washington, D. C.June 03, 1996
16National Shabbat of Renewal and Reconnection with Jews in the FSU--Resource KitApril 1995
17Petersburg Jewish University (Peterburgskii? evrei?skii? universitet)1993
18Photographs and Negativesundated, 1981, 1982
19Programs and Projects in the USSR and FSUundated, 1981, 1983, 1987-1994, 1997
BoxFolderTitleDate
21Reports on Telephone Conversations with Soviet Jews by Ruth Bloch, Switzerland1985, 1986, 1987
22Responses to Food Packages Sent to USSR and FSUundated, 1982, 1990-1995, 1998
23Soviet Jewry Handbook (National Conference on Soviet Jewry)1983
24US Embassy in Moscow1972, 1983, 1984, 1989
25White House, The1963, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1987
BoxFolderTitleDate
MAP11Poster advertising a Hanukah Concert in Riga, Latvia, on December 13, 1993, Organized by Chabad Lubavitch, 22"X31", (text is in Russian and Latvian) 1993
  (contains Russian and Latvian)    
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series II: Travel to USSR, undated, 1981-1990

This series is in English.
10 folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical

Scope and Content:

Series II consists mostly of trip reports written by American and UK travelers who visited Jews in the Soviet Union. The series also includes information for travelers to the USSR, such as addresses of Soviet Jews to visit, lists of items to bring, safety tips and general tourist materials, such as maps and guides.

BoxFolderTitleDate
26Information for the American Soviet Jewry Movement Activists Traveling to the USSR; Includes Addresses of the Refuseniks and Their Requests undated, 1982-1988
27Materials for Tourists to the USSRundated, 1984, 1986
28Trip Reports1982-1983
29Trip Reports1984
210Trip Reports1985-1986
BoxFolderTitleDate
31Trip Reports1987
32Trip Reports1988-1990
33Trip Reportsundated
34Trip Reports: Report by David Hill1981
35Trip Reports: Reports From the United Kingdomundated, 1983, 1984
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series III Publications and Near-print materials, undated, 1958, 1963-1972, 1974, 1978-1980, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988-1993, 1998, 2000

This series is in English, Russian and Ukrainian.
15 folders.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical

Scope and Content:

Series III contains publications on Jews and Jewish communities in the Soviet Union and FSU, congressional hearings related to the situation of Jews in the USSR, pamphlets and brochures of the Soviet Jewry Movement, educational materials for dissemination among the Jews in the Soviet Union, FSU, and Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel. The series also includes Soviet publications reflecting the Anti-Zionist and often Antisemitic official USSR standpoint on the issue of Soviet Jewry.

BoxFolderTitleDate
36Publications1958, 1964-1969
37Publications1970, 1972
38Publications1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989
BoxFolderTitleDate
41Publications1990, 1991, 1996
42Antisemitism in the Soviet Union, Its Roots and Consequences, Volume I and II (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
43Congressional Hearings Regarding International Human Rights and Postal Communications 1979, 1983, 1988
44Educational Materials for Russian-Speaking Jews undated, 1978, 1979, 1990
  

(contains Russian)

 
45Jews in Eastern Europe (European Jewish Publications, London), Vol. II: Nos. 3-5; Vol. III: Nos. 2, 4-6, 8, 10 1963-1967
46Jews in Eastern Europe (European Jewish Publications, London), Vol. IV: Nos. 1, 4, 5, 7 1968-1971
BoxFolderTitleDate
51Judaism without Embellishment
  

(contains Ukrainian)

 
52National Conference on Soviet Jewry Reports1992, 1993, 1998, 2000
53Pamphlets and Brochuresundated, 1971, 1974, 1984
54Soviet Jewry Backgrounder (San Francisco JCRC)1970
55Soviet Jewry Today and Tomorrow, by Boris Smolar (The Macmillan Company, New York) 1971
56Soviet Propaganda Publications Re Zionism and Jews in the USSR, in English Language 1971, 1984, 1988
Return to the Top of Page