Guide to the Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers,


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.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Nicole Greenhouse in April 2017. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lelyveld, Arthur J., 1913-1996
Title: Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of Arthur J. Lelyveld, a Reform rabbi and activist. The collection mostly covers Lelyveld's life from 1933-1950, focusing on his work to provide aid to Jewish conscientious objectors during World War II. The papers also focus on his work as a rabbi in Ohio and Nebraska.
Languages: The collection is in English with some Hebrew.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet (1 manuscript box)
Identification: P-1030
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Biographical Note
Cover of They'll Send Us There, Published by the Committee on Unity for Palestine (Box 1, Folder 15)

Cover of They'll Send Us There, Published by the Committee on Unity for Palestine (Box 1, Folder 15)

Arthur Joseph Lelyveld was born in New York City on February 6, 1913. He graduated from Columbia University in 1933 and Lelyveld was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in 1939. His first congregation was Congregation Bene Israel in Hamilton, Ohio; he relocated to Omaha, Nebraska to lead Temple Israel in November 1941. In 1941, he was named the first president of the Jewish Peace Fellowship. In 1944, Lelyveld returned to New York and served as the executive director for the Committee on Unity for Palestine. From 1946-1956, he served as the assistant national director, then national director, of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation. He served as executive vice-chairman of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, from 1956-1958. In 1958, Lelyveld became the senior rabbi of Anshe Chesed Congregation in Cleveland, where he served until 1986. Lelyveld was also involved in civil rights issues. In Omaha, he was a member of the Urban League and participated in the "Freedom Summer" in 1964 to register black voters, during which he was beaten by segregationists. Lelyveld died on April 15, 1996.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection mostly contains sermons, correspondence, reports, and other materials from Lelyveld's work in Ohio and Nebraska before 1950. In addition to his work as a rabbi, Lelyveld was also involved in the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the Omaha Urban League, and other projects related to Zionism, social justice, integration, and peace. Most of the collection focuses on his work attempting to establish aid to conscientious objectors in Civilian Public Service camps, as well as to aid those in Japanese internment camps. He also worked to establish a Jewish Relief Worker's Training Unit to specifically address the needs of Jewish conscientious objectors. Lelyveld corresponded with Max Ticktin, Abraham F. Citron, Isidor Hoffman, Max M. Kleinbaum, Thurgood Marshall, and conscientious objectors. Lelyveld also did some consulting work for the Jewish Chautauqua Society and visited college campuses in South Dakota and Iowa, to report on how Judaism was taught at these universities.

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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

The Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers 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), Jews for Urban Justice (Washington, D.C.) Records (I-159), 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).

The Western Reserve Historical Society holds the papers of Arthur J. Lelyveld, from 1950-1987.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers; P-1030; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by David Lelyveld in April 2017. The accession number associated with this collection is 2017.013.

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Processing Information

In 2017, the collection was rehoused into acid free folders. Original folder titles were retained, but loose materials were put in folders.

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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

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.


Arthur J. Lelyveld Papers, 1933-1950

11Clippings—World War II1939-1941request_box
12Commission on Justice and Peace of the Central Conference of American Rabbis1941-1944request_box
13Congregation Bene Israel and Temple Israel—Reports and Newsletters1941-1945request_box
14Jewish Chautauqua Society1942-1944request_box
15Jewish Conversion Interview and Norman Thomas1940, 1943request_box
16Jewish Peace Fellowship (1 of 2)1941-1943request_box
17Jewish Peace Fellowship (2 of 2)1941-1943request_box
18Jewish Relief Worker's Training Unit1943request_box
19Kiddush Hashem1940request_box
110"Moulders of Tomorrow" Personality Lecture Notes—Henry A. Wallace and Mahatma Gandhi1942request_box
111National Service Board for Religious Objectors1943-1944request_box
112Omaha Urban League1942-1944request_box
113Sermons—Holidays and Hebrew Union College Chapel (1 of 2)1933-1950request_box
114Sermons—Holidays and Hebrew Union College Chapel (2 of 2)1933-1950request_box
115Zionism—American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs, Committee on Unity for Palestine1940srequest_box
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