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Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-220 and I-220A

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of two parts, which reflect two different acquisitions of the CJP materials. They are defined as Part One and Part Two and have respective collection numbers of I-220 (1949-1993) and I-220A (1933-1968). The numeration of container manuscript boxes is separate within each part, the numeration of folders is separate within each box, and the container description is on the folder level.

This collection contains meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, financial documents and ledgers, appeal information, publicity, programs, brochures and other written documents relating CJP's long history. Materials from previous incarnations of CJP, including the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (UHBA), Associated Jewish Philanthropies, Combined Jewish Appeal and United Jewish Campaign provide a more detailed understanding of the Federation's complicated background. Of particular interest are the documents pertaining to the Social Planning and Allocations Committee, which determines funding amounts for organizations, the UHBA's materials, and files pertaining to defunct organizations, such as the Bureau of Jewish Education, Hecht House, Jewish Memorial Hospital, and Jewish organizations in Chelsea, Massachusetts. This collection provides a history of the Boston Jewish community's philanthropy through decades of immigration, wars, economic turmoil, demographic shifts, and changes in community goals and interests.

The addendum contains records created between 1970 and 2008, although there are some records from the two predecessors of CJP, the Associated Jewish Philanthropies and Federated Jewish Charities. Materials in this collection include photographs, publications, films, and audio tapes, meeting minutes, by-laws, event flyers and pamphlets, allocation records, fundraising information, correspondence, and grant proposals. Some items have been restricted; for more information, please see the box list.

Dates

  • undated, 1865-2006

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 Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Boston, Massachusetts is the oldest federated Jewish philanthropy in the United States. The current incarnation of CJP was formed in 1960, when two separate federated philanthropies - the Combined Jewish Appeal and Associated Jewish Philanthropies - merged to create a single organization dedicated to serving the needs of Boston's Jewish community. As a result of this merger, CJP was able to focus its priorities and engage the community in providing resources for Jewish organizations in Boston and beyond.

CJP's records contain the history of several other organizations, from the forerunners of the current Federation to the Jewish institutions supported by CJP. Their beginnings can be traced to the founding of the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (UHBA) in 1864 at the Pleasant Street Synagogue (now Temple Israel). Initiated by Nathan Strauss and 26 other men of the Congregation Adath Israel and Ohabei Shalom, the Association's purpose was "to dispense the charities of the Israelitish persuasion with a greater degree of system and effectiveness than has heretofore prevailed."

By the 1890s, the UHBA and similar charitable organizations saw their resources grow smaller with the wave of immigrants in the late 1800s and a national economic depression. To alleviate these concerns, the Federation of Jewish Charities of Boston was established on April 25, 1895, the first of its kind in the United States. In addition to the UHBA, four additional organizations - the Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society, the Leopold Morse Home for the Aged and Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage, the Free Employment Bureau, and the Charitable Burial Association - signed an agreement that enabled them to share its resources under the new organization name. Jacob Hecht was elected as President and Rabbi Solomon Schindler of Temple Israel was named director.

Each of these organizations handled different issues present in the community. The Leopold Morse Home, established in 1889, was located near Mattapan Square and dedicated to serving both the Jewish elderly and orphans, ending the practice of placing Jewish children in non-Jewish foster homes. The Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society (1869) was an auxiliary of the UHBA. This organization assisted immigrants by distributing blankets and clothing. In 1879, Lina Hecht, founder of Hecht House, revived the organization, which also provided Chanukah parties for poorer Boston Jews and a Calico Ball for wealthier community members. The Free Employment Bureau (1892) was supported by the auspices of the Baron De Hirsch Society and was located at 100 Chauncy Street. This organization was operated by Jacob Hecht, Abraham Ratshesky and Abraham P. Spitz. Lastly, the Charitable Burial Association (1891) ensured a proper burial to poor or unknown immigrants.

In 1906, it was once again necessary to combine and conserve resources, compelling several to form the Federation of Jewish Organizations of Massachusetts. This Federation later incorporated as the Federated Jewish Charities on January 8, 1908, with three new organizations added to the original five: Helping Hand for Destitute Jewish Children, Mount Sinai Dispensary (Beth Israel Hospital) and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. In addition, the Federation's services now expanded to individuals living outside the city. In 1916, the Federation restructured as a social services organization under its director, Morris Waldman. This restructuring allowed the Federation to expand its services to Eastern European Jews, and provided support for Jewish education - the first Federation in the nation to endorse Jewish education as a community goal.

By the 1930s, the Federation had undergone yet another name change, now known as the Associated Jewish Philanthropies (1930), which it would remain until its merger with Combined Jewish Appeal. Meanwhile, in response to the rising wave of refugees from Nazi occupied Europe, the United Jewish Campaign was organized in 1937. There were now two campaigns in the Jewish community - the Associated Jewish Philanthropies in the fall for local needs, and the United Jewish Campaign in the spring for international needs - which caused exhaustion and frustration for both fundraisers and donors. As a result, the two campaigns were consolidated into the Combined Jewish Appeal in 1940.

In 1944, two organizations were created to address specific needs of the community and were operated in tandem to the Federation. These were the Jewish Community Relations Council, established to increase the community's awareness of social issues and their impact, and the Jewish Centers of Greater Boston, which came out of a youth survey conducted by the Federation. As the Federation continued to grow and expand, more organizations fell under their auspices, including Hebrew Teacher's College, the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Young Men's Hebrew Association and Hecht House, as well as countless synagogues, schools and smaller institutions.

By 1960, the Associated Jewish Philanthropies and Combined Jewish Appeal had merged into the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Boston Jewish population had moved from the city to the suburbs of Newton and Brookline. A Long-Range Planning Study, conducted in 1963 and overseen by Irving Rabb, identified the current needs and forecasted the future needs of a rapidly changing community. In 1976, CJP president Leonard Kaplan recognized that the Federation had to respond to the considerable suburban Jewish population, and began to build community centers in the Western suburbs. Although met with some resistance, the Gosman Campus and Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center opened in Newton in 1983. Kaplan was succeeded by Barry Shrage in 1987.

References

  1. Materials from the collection.
  2. "CJP History and Milestones." CJP. August 12, 2010 (http://www.cjp.org/page.aspx?id=50202)
  3. Sarna, Jonathan D. and Ellen Smith. The Jews of Boston. Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies, 1995
  4. Solomon, Barbara Miller. Pioneers in Service: The History of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies of Boston. Boston: Associated Jewish Philanthropies, 1956

Chronology

1864
Nathan Strauss and 26 other men from Congregation Adath Israel and Ohabei Shalom form the United Hebrew Benevolent Association.
April 25, 1895
The Federation of Jewish Charities of Boston is established. Member organizations include The United Hebrew Benevolent Society, The Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society, The Leopold Morse Home for the Aged and Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage, The Free Employment Bureau, and The Charitable Burial Association.
April 25, 1895
Jacob Hecht is elected as the first president (until 1901), and Rabbi Solomon Schindler (former Rabbi of Temple Israel) is the first professional director.
April 25, 1895
The first appeal collects $11,909, with 489 people contributing.
1902-1903
Godfrey Morse serves as president of the Federation.
1904-1908
Lehman Pickert serves as president of the Federation.
1906
Several organizations briefly organize under the Federation of Jewish Charities of Massachusetts.
January 8, 1908
The Federated Jewish Charities is established, and provides services outside of Boston for the first time in the organization's history. As part of the organization's fund raising efforts, 4,000 women in the community raise money for the Beth Israel Hospital Association.
1909-1918
Abraham Ratshesky serves as president of the Federated Jewish Charities.
1911
Martha Michaels Silverman serves as director of the Federation.
1917
The Federated Jewish Charities is renamed the Federated Jewish Charities of Boston. The annual campaign brings in $250,000.
1918
The Federated Jewish Charities of Boston allocates funds for Jewish education.
1919-1921
Louis Baer serves as president of the Federated Jewish Charities.
1920
Jewish Big Brother Association joins the Federation.
1922-1924
Louis E. Kirstein serves as president of the Federated Jewish Charities.
1924
The Federation raises $440,698.
1925-1927
Albert W. Kaffenburgh serves as president of the Federated Jewish Charities.
1928-1929
Judge Abraham K. Cohen serves as president of the Federated Jewish Charities.
1930-1942
Louis E. Kirstein serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1930
The Federation is renamed the Associated Jewish Philanthropies and begins to fundraise professionally, culminating in $572,670.
1934
The Boston Committee for Refugees is established to aid European immigrants.
1937
The Greater Boston United Jewish Campaign is organized to meet the needs of refugees.
1938
The Boston Committee for Jewish Refugees becomes a Federation agency.
1940
The campaign structure is streamlined, creating a Combined Jewish Appeal.
1942-1944
Judge Abraham K. Cohen serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1944-1947
Judge Jacob J. Kaplan serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1946
Combined Jewish appeal campaign raises nearly $7 million dollars to assist in the Supplies for Our Survivors (SOS) campaign.
1946-1948
Israel Friedlander serves as president of the Combined Jewish Appeal.
1947-1950
Milton Kahn serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1948
$8.5 million dollars is raised by the Boston Jewish community.
1948-1950
Herman Gilman serves as president of the Combined Jewish Appeal.
1950-1953
Reuben B. Gryzmish serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1950-1953
Samuel Markell serves as president of the Combined Jewish Appeal.
1953-1955
Jacob L. Wiseman serves as president of the Combined Jewish Appeal.
1953-1956
Benjamin Ulin serves as president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1955-1956
Lewis H. Weinstein serves as president of the Combined Jewish Appeal.
1960
CJP is created from the merger of Combined Jewish Appeal and Associated Jewish Philanthropies.
1963
CJP creates a long-range plan to identify the needs of the Boston Jewish community.
1973
The Russian Resettlement Program is established to assist Jews emigrating from the USSR.
1976
CJP builds facilities in communities outside of Boston, starting in the Western suburbs.
1981
First Super Sunday Campaign raises $1 million.
1983
CJP's Gosman Campus opens in Newton.
1986
CJP completes its strategic planning process.
1987
Barry Shrage begins tenure as CJP President.
1993
The Boston Commission on Jewish Continuity begins its work, focusing on Jewish education and building relationships between CJP and local synagogues.
1995
CJP celebrates its 100-year anniversary.
1995
The Jews of Boston is published.
1998
Boston celebrates Israel's 50th anniversary.

Extent

245 linear feet (214 manuscript boxes, 109 document boxes, and 26 OS boxes)

Abstract

The Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Boston, Massachusetts is the oldest federated Jewish philanthropy in the United States. The current incarnation of CJP was formed in 1960, when two separate federated philanthropies – the Combined Jewish Appeal and Associated Jewish Philanthropies – merged to create a single organization dedicated to serving the needs of Boston’s Jewish community. CJP’s records contain the history of several other organizations, from the forerunners of the current Federation to the Jewish institutions supported by CJP. Their beginnings can be traced to the founding of the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (UHBA) in 1864 at the Pleasant Street Synagogue (now Temple Israel). This collection contains meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, financial documents and ledgers, appeal information, publicity, programs, brochures and other written documents relating CJP’s history.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Combined Jewish Philanthropies in 1985-1986; addendum donated by Combined Jewish Philanthropies in 2012.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Judith Garner, Stephanie Call, Kora Welsh, and Yan Yaworski, 2013
Title
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Records
Author
Reprocessed by Judith Garner, Stephanie Call, Kora Welsh, and Yan Yaworski.
Date
2013

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