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Jewish Community Relations Council Boston MacIver Report Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-78

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the documents collected by the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council regarding the work of Dr. MacIver, as well as the report and reactions of numerous organizations. As a result, the feedback of the JCRC is more detailed and contains the personal feedback of Director Robert Segal. However, the JCRC was conscientious of the impact of the report on the Jewish community and clearly strove to ensure their records encompassed as many viewpoints as possible. The report is of particular interest, but the various reactions as well as the withdrawal statement from the American Jewish Committee highlights the many concerns of Jewish services organizations in a post-World War II era.

Dates

  • 1949-1953

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Historical Note

The MacIver Report was commissioned by the National Community Relations Advisory Council (NCRAC) in order to ascertain the efficacy of services and interrelationships of specific Jewish community services organizations under the umbrella of NCRAC, which served as their policy making body. These organizations included the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. The Executive Committee of NCRAC adopted a resolution on January 12, 1950 that enabled representatives of the Evaluative Studies Committee (with support from the Large City Budgeting Conference) to select a social scientist, not associated with any Jewish organization, to objectively evaluate the activities, objectives, methodology and results of these particular organizations.

This Evaluative Studies Committee included NCRAC representatives from community Jewish relations councils, who shared four votes between them, including Harry I. Barron of Cleveland (Chairman), Mortimer Brenner of Brooklyn, Sidney Hollander of Baltimore, Leon Mesirov of Philadelphia, Sidney Shevitz of Detroit, Bernard H. Trager of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Lewis H. Weinstein of Boston. National agency representatives, also sharing four votes, included John Slawson of the American Jewish Committee, David Petegorsky of the American Jewish Congress, Samuel H. Nerlove of the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith (Benjamin R. Epstein was an alternative), and Emanuel Muravchik of the Jewish Labor Committee. Also participating in the Committee without voting privileges were Ben Kaufman of the Jewish War Veterans and Rabbi Jay Kaufman of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Participating from the Large City Budgeting Conference, and sharing two votes, were Louis J. Cohen of Newark, Samuel A. Goldsmith of Chicago, Ephraim Gomberg of Philadelphia, Arnold Gurin and Harry L. Lurie of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, Isidore Sobeloff of Detroit, Benjamin Ulin of Boston, and Edwin Wolf II of Philadelphia.

Eventually, they chose Dr. Robert M. MacIver, Professor Emeritus and former head of the Sociology Department at Columbia University, to implement and write the evaluative report. As part of the process, Dr. MacIver led a Technical Study Committee of fellow social scientists who were associated with the Jewish organizations under evaluation. The Committee included Dr. Isidor Chein, Director of Research, Commission on Community Interrelations of the American Jewish Congress; Dr. Samuel H. Flowerman, Director of the Scientific Research Department of the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Leo Srole, Director of the Department of Scientific Analysis and Evaluation of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; Dr. Daniel Bell, Social Science Consultant of the Jewish Labor Committee; and Harry L. Lurie, Executive Director of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. The latter was not evaluated by the Committee.

The final report examined the relationship of the national organizations to the local community relations councils as well as NCRAC (which provided leadership to the local community relations councils.) Recommendations were lengthy and focused primarily on the programmatic efforts of the organizations, as well as the relationships between the national organizations, the local community relations councils and local offices of national organizations, and the national and local agencies to NCRAC. Compiled in three sections, Section I contained the process, evaluation and recommendation of Dr. MacIver, and was submitted to NCRAC in May 1951. Section II focused on the reactions of the participating organizations, and Section III identified NCRAC’s action steps based on the recommendations presented in the report. When the report was released, there was considerable discomfort and disagreement amongst the evaluated Jewish organizations. The American Jewish Committee was particularly unhappy with both the methodology and results of the report, arguing that Dr. MacIver never spoke directly to the directors of the national organizations, and therefore the extent of his recommendations were inappropriate. The organization was also concerned that the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds utilized the report’s recommendations to make funding decisions. The Anti-Defamation League was also quite concerned that Dr. MacIver’s report did not clearly stipulate that the ADL was, first and foremost, a defense organization, and their objectives must be evaluated with this framework. However, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Jewish War Veterans, and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations viewed the recommendations favorably. The Large Budgeting Conference accepted the findings and recommendations in the report, and commended Dr. MacIver for his work. However, the American Jewish Committee withdrew from NCRAC in 1952 as a result of the MacIver Report’s findings.

Chronology

January 12, 1950
NCRAC adopts resolution to evaluate its constituent organizations
June 9, 1950
Dr. Robert MacIver meets with the NCRAC Special Committee on Evaluative Studies to identify scope and procedures for the study
May 1951
Dr. MacIver submits Section I of the report to the NCRAC Special Committee on Evaluative Studies
November 24-26, 1951
NCRAC Plenum meets in Atlantic City to discuss recommendations of the report
September 22, 1952
The American Jewish Committee withdraws from NCRAC

Extent

1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes)

Abstract

This collection contains materials collected by Boston’s JCRC, which monitored the situation as well as participated in the review of the report. Materials include news clippings, written reactions from the organizations, notes and correspondence from JCRC director Robert Segal, and the full report with recommendations, reactions and NCRAC action steps.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Stephanie Call, 2009
Title
Guide to the Jewish Community Relations Council Boston MacIver Report Records, I-78
Author
Reprocessed by Stephanie Call
Date
2009
Sponsor
Processed by Stephanie Call, Schilder Assistant Archivist, made possible by a grant from the Schilder Family Fund. This collection has been digitized, made possible by a grant from the Trustees u/w of Herman Dana.

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245