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 topBox 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 Directors Course, 1990s 8 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Directors Course, 1982-1994 9 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Directors Course, 1993 1994 10 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Directors 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 Bav, 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 Womens 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. Israels) 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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