Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

 

 

 

A Finding Aid to the

Richard J. Israel Papers 

Manuscript Collection No. 722

1946-2000. 10 Linear ft.

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Richard Israel Papers were donated by Dr. Sherry Israel of Newton, Massachusetts, in August, 2004. By the act of donating the Richard Israel Papers to the American Jewish Archives, Dr. Israel assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material authored by Richard Israel are held by his heirs. All literary rights to material authored by others are retained by the individuals and their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. The papers are open to researchers and available in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH top

Richard James Israel was born in Chicago and educated in the public schools there. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1950 and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1957.

While enrolled at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Israel spent 1954-55 in Israel studying at Hebrew University and a yeshiva in Yavneh. He also spent time as a rabbi in Bombay, India, under the auspices of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Following ordination, Rabbi Israel became Associate Director of the UCLA Hillel Council, a position he held until 1959 when he became Hillel Director at Yale University. In 1971 he was appointed Executive Director of the Hillel Council of Greater Boston.

At Yale, Rabbi Israel taught, counseled, officiated at religious services and lifecycle events, and led a successful major capital fund drive that resulted in the purchase and renovation of new Hillel facilities. As well, he played a major role in eliminating restrictions on Jewish admissions to the university. In Boston, Rabbi Israel supervised planning, programming and funding that served the area’s 38,000 Jewish students.

Upon leaving Hillel in 1985, he served as Director of Central Services and Judaica for the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, an appointment that oversaw day camps and community programming. He received a national award for his work. Rabbi Israel later worked as Director of the Alperin-Schecter Day School in Boston, the Bureau of Jewish Education for Rhode Island and taught a course in Hillel leadership for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. During the 1990s, he was interim Hillel Director at both Brandeis and Princeton Universities.

As a speaker, consultant and workshop leader, Rabbi Israel attended conferences in Jewish Education and Leadership throughout his career and in all parts of the United States. As a writer, his articles on Jewish living and education were published in such periodicals as Moment, Commentary and Sh’ma.

He also contributed to The Jewish Catalogue series. A collection of his writings was published under the title The Kosher Pig.

Rabbi Israel was listed in Who’s Who in Religion, Who’s Who in American Jewry and Who’s Who in World Jewry. For two years he was President of the National Association of Hillel Directors. In 1962, the American Jewish Congress awarded him a special citation for civil rights activities, following his involvement in a clergy-led protest against segregation in Georgia. In 1974, Rabbi Israel traveled to the Soviet Union in an effort to establish contacts with Refuseniks. He also undertook numerous trips during his life to Israel. In 1982, Rabbi Israel was the recipient of a Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Israel devoted his career to helping Jews of all ages to understand, appreciate and articulate their religious identity. Beyond his role as a rabbi, Israel was a longtime beekeeper and ultra-marathon runner.

Rabbi Israel died in 2000 while hiking with his son Joshua. His wife, Dr. Sherry Israel and his four children, Alisa, Rachel, David and Joshua survive him.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE top

Rabbi Richard J. Israel (1929-2000) spent most of his career with Hillel organizations at UCLA, Yale and the universities located in the Greater Boston area. His papers consist of sermons, writings, correspondence and resources pertaining to his professional activity with Hillel and as an educator, counselor, consultant and administrator in a variety of settings.

Of special interest are the correspondence, writings and news clippings that pertain to Rabbi Israel’s many years as a Hillel Director. The material is also indicative of Rabbi Israel’s wide range of contacts and friendships throughout the American Jewish world. In addition, the collection contains material from his years as a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, involvement in the American civil rights movement and as an advocate for Soviet Jewry. Overall, the archive reveals a man greatly influenced by the work of his own Hillel Director - Rabbi Maurice Pekarsky of the University of Chicago - and who in turn devoted his life to enriching the lives of young Jewish people.


A. WRITINGS (1957 – 2000)
B. CORRESPONDENCE (1950 – 2000)
C. HILLEL (1957 – 2000)
D. JEWISH LIFECYCLE AND RITUAL RESOURCES (1940s-1990s)
E. JEWISH HOLIDAY AND FESTIVAL RESOURCES (1949 – 1992)
F. CONFERENCES (1969 – 1991)
G. JEWISH EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (1950s – 1990s)
H. HEBREW UNION COLLEGE-JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION (1950 – 1957)
I. SUBJECTS FILES (1946 – 1992)

SERIES A. WRITINGS (1957 – 2000) is the collection of Rabbi Israel’s notes, writings and sermonic material that deal with Jewish living, learning, leadership and spirituality. The material covers his career at UCLA, Yale, in Boston and at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Pennsylvania. The voluminous notes and writings reflect his concern with Jewish identity, civil rights and administrative matters involving Hillel and the issue of Jewish learning and leadership. Included are a number of issues of Moment magazine and the Melton Journal in which Rabbi Israel’s articles were published. The files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders and span his entire rabbinic career, from 1957 to 2000.

SERIES B. CORRESPONDENCE (1950 – 2000) consists of Rabbi’s correspondence with colleagues and friends. The writing covers Israel’s rabbinical student years at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, directing Hillel organizations at UCLA, Yale and in Greater Boston, conference work, business involving Boston’s Alperin Schecter Day School, the Bureau of Jewish Education of Rhode Island, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, salary and pension issues as well as correspondence with his publishers and many close friends and rabbinical colleagues. The files are arranged chronologically, then chronologically within folders and span from 1950 to 2000.

SERIES C. HILLEL (1957 – 2000) contains materials relating to Rabbi Israel’s work with Hillel. Included are memoranda, flyers, pamphlets, news clippings and numerous papers that focus on the Jewish presence within the campus community. The files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders and span from 1957 to 2000.

SERIES D. JEWISH LIFECYCLE AND RITUAL RESOURCES (1940s – 1990s) is a collection of writings and related materials pertaining to Jewish lifecycles and rituals. Included are files dealing with wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, circumcision as well as adoption, conversion and intermarriage. The files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders and span from the 1940s to 1990s.

SERIES E. JEWISH HOLIDAY AND FESTIVAL RESOURCES (1949 – 1992) is comprised of writings and materials involving the Jewish holidays and festivals, including Shabbat. The files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. Span dates are 1949-1992.

SERIES F. CONFERENCES (1969 – 1991) consists of writings and resources pertaining to Rabbi Israel’s participation as a speaker and/or workshop leader at Jewish educational and leadership conferences throughout the United States. The files are arranged chronologically then chronologically within folders and span dates are 1969 to 1991.

SERIES G. JEWISH EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (1950s – 1990s) is a collection of Rabbi Israel’s educational resources and writings. Included are materials pertaining to Jewish learning at camps, synagogues and Jewish Community Center workshops. Topics include Jewish Leadership, the Land of Israel, Refuseniks in the Soviet Union, Social Action, Fundraising, The Holocaust and Pluralism. Files are arranged alphabetically then chronologically within folders and span dates are the 1950s to 1990s.

SERIES H. HEBREW UNION COLLEGE-JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION (1950 – 1957) is a record of Rabbi Israel’s work while a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Included are his voluminous class notes, syllabi distributed by instructors as well as writings and notes pertaining to his training in pastoral counseling at Bellevue Hospital in New York. There are also several copies of the satirical student journal, The Quandary. This collection provides a vivid picture of the HUC-JIR student life and curriculum in the 1950s. The files are arranged alphabetically then chronologically within folders and span dates are 1950 to 1957.

SERIES I. SUBJECT FILES (1946 – 1992) consists of files arranged alphabetically by individual subjects, then chronologically within folders. Included are biographical material (including material from his high school and undergraduate student days), Rabbi Israel’s work with the Boston Jewish Community Center, pension matters and the controversy involving Christmas decorations in Hamden, Connecticut in 1961. The span dates are 1946 to 1992.

BOX AND FOLDER LISTING top

Box	Folder	Contents

SERIES A:	WRITINGS 
Scope Notes:  Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders.

1	1	Bees and Beekeeping, 1970s – 1980s
	2	Chapel Sermons at HUC-JIR, 1956
	3	Definitions of Jewish Terms, 1969
	4	Experiential Notes, 1970s
	5	Funeral Sermonic Material, 1960s – 1980s
	6	Graduation Ceremony Prayers, 1966 – 2000
	7	Judaism and Jogging, 1975 – 1987
	8	High Holiday Writing, 1960s
	9	High Holiday Sermons, 1950s – 1990s
	10	High Holiday Sermons, 1960s – 1990s
	11	High Holiday Writing, 1970s 
	12	Homiletic Materials, 1980s
	13	Kosher Pig, The (book by Richard J. Israel) notes, 1982-1991

2	1	Lectures, 1958 – 1991
	2	Lectures, 1965 – 1967
	3	Lectures, 1966 – 1970
	4	Memorabilia, 1950s – 1990s
	5	Miscellaneous Notes, 1950s – 1990s
	6	Miscellaneous Notes, 1976
	7	Miscellaneous Notes, 1965 - 1987
	8	Miscellaneous Notes, Undated
	9	Miscellaneous Writings, 1960s – 1990s
	10	Miscellaneous Writings, 1980s
	11	Miscellaneous Writings, 1950s – 1980s

3	1	Miscellaneous Writings, 1968 – 1987
	2	Miscellaneous Writings, 1961 – 1989
	3	Miscellaneous Writings, 1965 – 1985
	4	Miscellaneous Writings, 1963 – 1985
	5	Miscellaneous Writings, 1963 – 1982
	6	Miscellaneous Writings, 1966 – 1987
	7	Miscellaneous Writings, 1969 – 1988

4	1	Miscellaneous Writings, 1961 – 1989
	2	Miscellaneous Writings, 1960s – 1980s
	3	Miscellaneous Writings, 1975 – 1981
	4	Miscellaneous Writings, 1970s – 1980s
	5	Miscellaneous Writings, 1950s – 1980s
	6	Miscellaneous Writings, 1960s

5	1	Miscellaneous Writings, 1980s
	2	Miscellaneous Writings, 1980 – 1987
	3	Miscellaneous Writings, 1960s – 1980s
	4	Miscellaneous Writings, 1982 – 1992
	5	Parashot, 1970s – 1980s
	6	Public Prayers, 1950s – 1980s

6	1	Sermonic Material, 1980 – 1995
	2	Sermonic Material, 1970s – 1980s 
	3	Sermonic Material, 1974 – 1995
	4	Sermonic Material, Undated
	5	Sermons, 1950s – 1960s
	6	Sermons: High Holidays, 1952 – 1956
	7	Stories, Undated

7	1	Talks, 1969
	2	Talks, 1961 – 1985
	3	Talks, 1973 – 1988
	4	Talks and Articles, 1965 – 1970
	5	Talks: High Holidays, 1980s
	6	Talks, Lectures, 1953 – 1988

8	1	Talks and Sermons, 1954 – 1992
	2	Talks and Sermons, 1960s – 1970s
	3	Talks and Sermons, Undated
	4	Talks: Small, 1950s – 1970s
	5	Talks: Textual, 1951 – 1957

SERIES B: CORRESPONDENCE
Scope Notes: Files are arranged chronologically, and chronologically within folders.

9	1	Correspondence, 1950 – 1957
	2	Correspondence, 1958 – 1959
	3	Correspondence, 1960 – 1963
	4	Correspondence, 1964 – 1967
	5	Correspondence, 1968 – 1969
	6	Correspondence, 1970 – 1979

10	1	Correspondence, 1980 – 1983
	2	Correspondence, 1984 – 1985
	3	Correspondence, 1986 – 1987
	4	Correspondence, 1988 – 1989
	5	Correspondence, 1990 – 2000
	6	Correspondence, Undated

SERIES C: HILLEL
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. 

11	1	Boston, Greater, 1970s
	2	Boston, Greater, 1985
	3	Brandeis University, 1999- 2000
	4	Brown University Candidacy, 1989
	5	Budget Issues, 1980s
	6	Budget Issues and Goals, 1970s – 1980s
	7	Campus Cults, 1966 – 1980
	8	Campus Ministry, 1970s
	9	Chabad Lubavitch on Campus, 1980
	10	College-Bound Students Preparation, 1970s – 1980s
	11	College Talk, 1960s – 1980s
	12	College Talk, 1960s – 1980s
	13	College Talk, 1960s – 1980s
	14	Commission Meeting Issues, 1979
	15	Directors’ Conference Notes, Undated
	16	Fundraising, 1977 – 1978

12	1	Fundraising, 1960s – 1980s
	2	Grant Request, 1960s
	3	Group Leadership Activities, 1960s
	4	Israel Trip, 1966
	5	Jewish-Christian Relations, 1950s – 1980s
	6	Jewish Community Center Programming, 1980s
	7	Jewish Experiential Material, 1970s – 1980s
	8	Jewish Student Conference, 1969
	9	Miscellaneous, 1950s – 1960s
	10	Miscellaneous, 1940s – 1980s
	11	Miscellaneous, 1960s – 1970s
	12	Miscellaneous, 1960s – 1980s
	13	Miscellaneous, 1980
	14	Miscellaneous, 1970s – 1980s
	15	Miscellaneous, 1981
	16	Miscellaneous, 1983
	17	Miscellaneous, 1980s
	18	Miscellaneous, 1990

13	1	National Association of Hillel Directors, 1961 - 1985
	2	Organization and Leadership, 1980s
	3	Princeton University, 1992 -1993
	4	Princeton University, 1992 -1993	
	5	Purdue University, 1990
	6	Rabbi-Director Review, 1989-1990
	7	Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Director’s Course, 1990s
	8	Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Director’s Course, 1982-1994
	9	Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Director’s Course, 1993 – 1994
	10	Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Director’s Course, 1994 – 1995
	11	Strategic Planning, 1980s
	12	Stress Workshop, 1982
	13	Summer Institutes, 1960s – 1970s

14	1	UCLA, 1957 – 1959
	2	UCLA Counseling, 1958
	3	UCLA, Yale University, 1950s – 1960s
	4	UCLA, Yale University High Holiday Service, 1958 – 1968
	5	Yale University, 1960s
	6	Yale University, 1960s – 1970s
	7	Yale University, 1960s – 1980s
	8	Yale University Chaplaincy Candidacy, 1992
	9	Yale University Freshmen Orientation, 1971
	10	Yale University Hillel Pamphlets, 1959 – 1971
	11	Yale University Interfaith, 1968 – 1971
	12	Yale University Morality Crisis, 1960

SERIES D: JEWISH LIFECYLE AND RITUAL RESOURCES
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. 

15	1	Adoption, 1980s
	2	Adultery, Undated
	3	Bar Mitzvah, 1960s – 1980s
	4	Bar Mitzvah: Temple Israel, Natick, MASS.,  1989
	5	Circumcision and Naming, 1960s – 1990s
	6	Conversion, 1960s – 1970s
	7	Conversion/Who Is A Jew, Undated
	8	Divorce, 1970
	9	Divorce, 1990s
	10	Halacha/Jewish Law, 1960s
	11	Intermarriage, 1970s
	12	Intermarriage Conference, 1979
	13	Intermarriage, 1980s


16	1	Marriage, 1980s
	2	Marriage, 1970s – 1990s
	3	Memorial Services, 1960s – 1980s
	4	Mikveh, 1978
	5	Public Prayers, 1948
	6	Weddings, 1950s – 1980s
	7	Weddings, 1960s – 1980s

SERIES E: JEWISH HOLIDAY AND FESTIVAL RESOURCES
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then
chronologically within folders.

17	1	Chanuka, 1940s – 1990s
	2	High Holidays at Brandeis University, 1988 – 1989
	3	Jewish Holidays Overview, 1989
	4	Passover, 1978
	5	Purim, 1980 – 1992
	6	Shabbat, 1970s – 1980s
	7	Shavuot, 1950s – 1970s
	8	Sukkot, 1960s – 1980s
	9	Tisha B’av, 1980s		


SERIES F:	CONFERENCES
Scope Notes: Files arranged chronologically, then chronologically within folders.

18	1	Camp Ramah, 1969
	2	Sex Education Conference, New Haven, CT, 1969
	3	UJA Rabbis Mission to Israel, 1970
	4	National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) Group Dynamics Institute, Warwick, NY, 1971
	5	National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) Academy, 1972
	6	Young Leadership Family Retreat, Jug End, 1972
	7	Jewish Family Life Workshop, 1974
	8	UJA Women’s Conference, Richmond, VA, 1974
	9	UJA Leadership Development Conference, Capon Bridge, W. VA, 1978
	10	Acharai Leadership Conference, Boston, MASS, 1979
	11	Jewish Awareness Program, Hartford, CT, 1980
	12	American Jewish Committee Conference on Family, New York, NY, 1980
	13	American Jewish Committee Birthrate Conference, 1983
	14	Radius Institute Outreach Conference, Rye, NY, 1984 - 1985
	15	Hadassah Jewish Education Institute, Brandeis University, 1985
	16	Young Judea, Boston, MASS, 1985
	17	Jewish Community Centers Workers Workshop, Highland Springs, CA, 1986
	18	Professional Development: Jewish Welfare Board, 1986
	19	Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE), College Park, MD, 1986
	20	Jewish Singles Conference, Albany NY, 1986
	21	“Go and Study”: Lifelong Learning Conference, Brandeis University, 1987
	22	Jewish Community Center Conference/Retreat, Grotonwood, MASS, 1987
	23	Jewish Educational Program Institute, Rockville, MD, 1987
	24	Association for Jewish Studies Conference, 1987

19	1	Council of Jewish Federations Leadership Conference, Springfield, MASS, 1988	
	2	Congregation Beth-El Retreat, Sudbury, MASS, 1988
	3	“Imagining The Jewish Future” Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 1988
	4	Ethnicity Conference, Brandeis University, 1988
	5	Young Jewish Leadership Conference, San Antonio, TX, 1989
	6	Louisville, KY, 1989
	7	Chaplains’ Conferences/Retreats, New York, Washington, DC, 1990
	8	Temple Emunah Conference on Jewish Parenting,Lexington, MASS, 1990
	9	Jewish Campus Activities Board Conference, Germantown, MD, 1990
	10	Young Leaders’ Workshop, Marblehead, MASS, 1990
	11	Jewish Identity Workshop, Westborough, MASS, 1990
	12	Boston Bureau of Jewish Education Workshop, Boston, MASS, 1991
	13	Congregation Adath Jeshurun Conference, Louisville, KY, 1991
	14	Campus Ministry Conference, Undated
	15	Miscellaneous Conference Material, 1960s – 1980s


SERIES G: EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. 

20	1	Academy of Religion and Mental Health, 1950s
	2	Alperin-Schecter Day School, Providence, R.I., 1991 – 1992
	3	Boston/New York Bureaus of Jewish Education, 1980s - 1990 
	4	Boston Jewish Community Center, 1980s
	5	Brandeis Beit Midrash Teaching Notes, 1989
	6	Brandeis Class Materials, 1989 – 1990
	7	Discussion Guides, 1967
	8	Educational Talks/Brochures, 1979 – 1991
	9	Family Education, 1987
	10	Fundraising, 1995
	11	Group Sensitivity Training, 1960s
	12	Havurot Resources, 1985
	13	Hebrew College/Boston JCC Ulpan, 1986 – 1987
	14	Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Steinhardt Fellows, 1994
	15	Holocaust Notes, 1980s – 1990s
	16	Hornstein Fieldwork Program at Brandeis University, 1986 – 1987
	17	Hornstein Teaching Materials, 1970s – 1980s
	18	Israel Trip, 1986
	19	Israel Travels, 1950s – 1980s
	20	Israel Walkathon, 1979 – 1980
	21	Jerusalem:  Three View, Undated
	22	Jewish Community Center Agendas, 1986 – 1988
	23	Jewish Community Center Material, 1980s


21	1	Jewish Identity Games/Resources, Undated
	2	Jewish Identity Games/Resources, Undated
	3	Jewish Learning, 1980s – 1990s
	4	Jewish Learning, 1980s – 1990s
	5	Jewish Learning Material, 1980s – 1990s
	6	Mador/Camp Ramah Orientation, 1969
	7	Non-Verbal Communication Exercises, 1960s
	8	Other Congregations’ Prayers/Services, 1960s – 1970s
	9	Outreach, 1980s
	10	Peace Movement Writing, 1960s
	11	Rhode Island Bureau of Jewish Education, 1990
	12	Rhode Island Bureau of Jewish Education, 1991
	13	Rhode Island Bureau of Jewish Education, Undated
	14	Pluralism, 1980s
	15	Sermonic Material, 1960s – 1980s
	16	Social Action, 1960s

22	1	Solomon Schecter Day School, Newton, MASS, 1985
	2	Soviet Union Trip, 1974
	3	Teaching Materials, 1950s – 1982



SERIES H: HEBREW UNION COLLEGE-JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. 

23	1	Bible Class Notes, 1950s
	2	Clinical Pastoral Work Notes, 1950s
	3	Hebrew Language Class Notes (while in Israel), 1954
	4	History Class Notes, 1950s
	5	Human Relations/Pastoral Work Notes, 1950s
	6	Human Relations Class Notes, 1950 – 1957
	7	Human Relations Class Notes, 1950 – 1957
	8	Introduction to Judaism Class Notes, 1951
	9	Jewish Religious Thought Class Notes, 1950s

24	1	Liturgy Class Notes, 1953
	2	M.A. Paper Notes, 1956 – 1957
	3	Miscellaneous Class Notes, 1950 – 1957
	4	Philosophy Class Notes, 1950s
	5	Skits, Songs, “Quandarys” (student magazine), 1951 – 1957
	6	Talmud Class Notes, 1951
	7	Talmud Class Notes, 1950s
	8	Tannaic Literature Class Notes, 1950s
	9	Theology Class Notes, 1950s


SERIES I:	SUBJECT FILES
Scope Notes: Files are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within folders. 

25	1	Biographical Material, 1946 – 1956
	2	Biographical Material, 1949 – 1991
	3	Biographical Material, 1961 – 1992
	4	Biographical Material, 1959 – 1985
	5	Boston Jewish Community Center/Jewish Agency Business, 1984 - 1987
	6	Boston Jewish Community CenterJob Description, 1985 
	7	Hamden, CT Christmas Controversy, 1961
	8	Homosexuality and Judaism, 1973
	9	Harvard University Behavior Class, 1979
	10	House (Richard J. Israel’s) at Yale University, 1960s
	11	Judaism Magazine, 1962 – 1963
	12	Pension Plan, 1980s
	13	Philadelphia Job Candidacy, 1986 – 1988
	14	Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, 1986
  
  
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