Guide to the Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) Records, 1967-1971


Processed by Nicole Greenhouse

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160



© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid was converted from a MARC record with marc2ead_ajhs.xsl in 2009. Finding aid written in English.
December 2016 Container list and top-level description was added to the finding aid.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.)
Title: Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) records
Abstract: Jews for Urban Justice was founded in Washington, D.C. to combat social problems directly connected with Jews. The collection includes organizational materials, minutes of meetings, newsletters, program materials, correspondence, and press clippings. Also included is material regarding a proposed history of the organization by Harold Goldberg.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: .5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)
Identification: I-159
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Historical Note
Cover of An Abbreviated History of Jews for Urban Justice (Box 1, Folder 7)

Cover of An Abbreviated History of Jews for Urban Justice (Box 1, Folder 7)

Jews for Urban Justice (JUJ) first began in the summer of 1966 in response to the refusal of Rabbi Norman Gerstenfeld of the Washington Hebrew Congregation to take a stand against discriminatory housing practices held by Allie Freed, a landlord who was also a member of the congregation. To fight against these practices, eight Jewish members of ACCESS (Action Coordinating Committee to End Segregation in the Suburbs) leafleted in front of the synagogue on Yom Kippur in 1966 and 1967. Their activities led to a letter condemning the activities for protesting on Yom Kippur from Jason R. Silverman of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. The letter made the activists realize there was a need for an official organization and led to the formal establishment of JUJ in late 1967. JUJ’s first major activity was the release of its study, “A Report on Social Action and the Jewish Community” in 1968, which found that Washington, D.C. area Jewish clergy and organizations were not sufficiently concerned with problems of social justice and intolerance found in the Jewish community at large.

Campaigns were organized stemming from the results of the study. JUJ was involved in the Poor People’s Campaign, marched in the Mothers Day Welfare Rights March, publicized the sale of a local Jewish Community Center to the highest bidder, sponsored the Freedom Seder, and most notably, were involved in the National Grape Boycott. In solidarity with the United Farm Workers strike, JUJ urged synagogues and rabbis in the Washington, D.C. area to not use California grapes in their sukkahs. By February 1969, JUJ had successfully pressured Joseph Danzansky to stop carrying California grapes in Giant Food store chains. The activities of the JUJ came to a close by 1971.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the records of the Jews for Urban Justice, documenting their activities in Washington, D.C. from 1967-1971. The collection is mostly made up of articles and summaries of their campaigns and administrative history. The organization was involved in urban desegregation, urban renewal, demonstrations against war and Anti-Semitism, Jewish discussion series, and the politicization of religious rites. JUJ also organized in solidarity with the Chicago Seven, African-Americans, veterans, farm workers, and Soviet Jewry. Other materials in the collection include meeting minutes, newsletters, leaflets, program materials, calendars, correspondence, press clippings, press releases, reports, flyers, and membership materials.

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The collection is arranged alphabetically.

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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

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Related Material

Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) Records is one individual collection within the Counter Culture collections located at the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). Other counter culture collections at AJHS include the Arthur Ocean Waskow Papers (P-152), Leonard Fein Papers (P-582), Shira Eve Epstein Papers (P-776), Riv-Ellen Prell Papers (P-795), Ruth Abusch-Magder Papers (P-841), Virginia Levitt Snitow Papers (P-876), Goldie Milgram Papers (P-876), Jack Jacobs Papers (P-1020), Gerald Serotta Papers (P-1023), Jack Nusan Porter Papers (P-1024), Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers (P-1030), Jewish Peace Fellowship Records (I-189), Jewish Student Press Service Records (I-248), Breira Records (I-250), American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism (New York, New York) Records (I-326), North American Jewish Students Appeal Records (I-338), Jewish Labor Committee Records (I-377), New Jewish Agenda Records (I-393), Vermont Chapter of the New Jewish Agenda Records (I-449), Jewish Counter Culture Collection (I-504), Trees and Life for Vietnam Records (I-542), Lights in Action Records (I-560), Brit Tzedek v'Shalom/Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace Records (I-587), and portions of the Jewish Student Organizations Collection (I-61).

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Separated Material

The newsletter of the JUJ, Jewish Urban Guerilla, was separated to the Jewish Student Organizations Collection (I-61).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) records; I-159; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Processing Information

In 2016, materials were refoldered, top-level description was added, and a container list was created. Original folder titles were retained.

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Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) Records, 1967-1971

11Banking Project1969-1970request_box
14Correspondence—Proposed Article by Harold Goldberg1968-1971request_box
15Community Survey—"A Report on Social Action and the Jewish Community"1968request_box
16Grape Boycott1969-1970request_box
17History of the Organization1967-1969request_box
19Press Releases and Clippings1968-1971request_box
112Soviet Jewry1969request_box
113Statement of Purpose, Membership Form, Membership List1969-1970request_box
114Steering Committee Minutes1969 March 31request_box
115Tisha B'Av Service1969request_box
116Yom Kippur1967-1969request_box
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