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Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection, Part 5
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  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection, Part 5
    Creator: Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. Community Relations Committee
    Identifier/Call Number: URB.CRC5
    Extent: 172.06 Linear Feet
    Extent: 16.3 Gigabytes
    Date (inclusive): 1933-2004
    Abstract: In response to the spread of organized anti-Semitism in the United States during the 1930s, leaders of Los Angeles' Jewish community formed a special defense organization known as the Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee. The committee later changed its name to the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee. The collection documents the committee's efforts to combat prejudice and educate the public through cooperation with both Jewish and non-Jewish groups, from its formation in 1933 through to the early 21st century. Part 5 of the collection continues the documentation of the CRC's activities in the final quarter of the 20th century.
    Language of Material: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian

    Historical Note:

    In response to the spread of organized anti-Semitism in the United States during the 1930s spearheaded by domestic groups like the Ku Klux Klan and international ones like the propaganda arm of Hitler's Third Reich in Germany, leaders of Los Angeles' Jewish community formed a special defense organization known as the Los Angeles Community Relations Committee. The Committee's purpose was to work with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), B'nai B'rith, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the American Jewish Congress, the Council of Jewish Women, and other Zionist organizations to fight anti-Semitism in the United States.
    Mendel Silberberg, a respected community leader and motion picture industry attorney, served as the first chairman of Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee. The committee adopted the strategy set forth by the ADL in 1933 for combating "un-Americanism," which was to infiltrate and expose pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic organizations. The Committee collected a massive amount of propaganda literature, primarily from anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, and other right wing organizations. Undercover agents and informants were recruited from the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans, and planted among suspect groups in the Los Angeles area.
    In 1938, Joseph Roos, a newspaperman and screenwriter who had served as a volunteer informant, joined the Community Relations Committee's staff. He set up a master file system for the committee's records, and edited the CRC's News Letter, which provided "intelligence" news reports and analysis of propaganda to the committee, government officials, teachers, churchmen, influential journalists, and radio commentators across the United States. Radio broadcaster Walter Winchell and newspaper columnist Drew Pearson obtained many of their sensational "scoops" about American extremist groups from the News Letter. Under the News Research Service, Roos also directed the CRC's Radio Project and produced news releases and newspaper columns. The last issue of the News Letter went to press on December 7, 1941.
    With the United States' entry into World War II, the Committee's intelligence gathering activities and investigative journalism were superseded by new activities with patriotic organizations, veterans groups, inter-faith religious organizations, and local schools and colleges to combat rising bigotry and discrimination. In 1941 the committee changed its name to the Community Relations Committee (CRC) of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles.
    At war's end, the CRC again reorganized itself in an attempt to better serve the greater Los Angeles community. Some of the most important issues the CRC addressed in the post-World War II period included resettlement of refugees from Eastern Europe on the West Coast, de-nazification in Germany, immigration legislation, religion in public schools, communism, civil liberties, discrimination in housing, fair employment practices, inter-racial relations, stereotyping in the motion picture industry and religious tolerance.
    By the last quarter of the 20th century, the CRC reorganized its interests into Commissions focusing on specific interest areas. CRC administration and Commissions continued to monitor anti-Semitism, track government affairs, and work to build better relationships through collaborative programming and outreach with other non-Jewish communities in Los Angeles. In addition to these locally focused interests, the CRC also took a strong interest in international affairs, especially with events and organizations related to Israel and the Middle East and the status of Jewish communities around the world, particularly in the Soviet Union.

    Scope and Contents:

    The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection, Part 5 documents the CRC's activities primarily from 1970 to the close of the 20th century. During this period the CRC continued its work on public policy issues and its outreach work as an educational resource for the Jewish community locally and internationally. Many of the records in this period continue to reflect the organization's continued interest in monitoring and addressing issues of anti-Semitism in the greater Los Angeles region, as well as relationship building work with non-Jewish community organizations. In addition to its local community work, the organization's interest in the international well-being of the Jewish community was a central concern during this period. The collection is arranged into three series: Administration (1940-2004), Commissions (1933-2003), and Subject Files (1954-2000).
    Series I, Administration, includes correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, newsletters, planning documents, reports, and ephemera directly related to CRC's functioning under its umbrella organization the Jewish Federation, documentation of CRC organizational restructuring, leadership development, fundraising and philanthropy, and materials related to CRC's direct, active engagement with other organizations, such as the United Jewish Fund and the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California. This series includes materials that document committees and task forces originating with the CRC, including the Cults and Missionaries Task Force, which was briefly referred to as a Commission during this time, and the Jewish Film Advisory Committee. Administration also contains the work of regional committees documenting the East, Metro, San Fernando Valley, Southern, and Western regions, and their respective inter-ethnic outreach, legislative liaison work, and interest in regional church-state relations. Materials are arranged alphabetically.
    Series II, Commissions, contains materials related to projects and initiatives administered by specially created commissions to focus on specific interest issues of the CRC. This series is divided into six subseries arranged by Commission, and then alphabetically within each Commission.
    Subseries A, Education (1960-2000), consists of correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, bulletins, lists, reports, and calendars that document the Education Commission's interest in bilingual education, busing and school integration, curriculum monitoring, education legislation, Holocaust education, textbook evaluations, school vouchers, religion in public schools, and holiday school schedules.
    Subseries B, Government Relations (1933-2003), contains correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, press clippings, and legislative materials that document the work of what was initially the Commission on Law and Legislation. Law and Legislation was created to review and critique legislation on local, state, and federal issues affecting the Los Angeles Jewish community. Beginning in 1992 this Commission became Government Relations and continued its work tackling issues of legislation at all levels of government, including aging, church and state issues, hate crimes, health and welfare reform, immigration, political action committees, social services, women's issues, and advocacy on behalf of Jewish social service agencies.
    Subseries C, Middle East (1965-1999), contains correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, and many press clippings that document the Commission's work as a coordinating and programming body disseminating information and interpreting the role of Israel in the Middle East to the Jewish and general communities. Press clippings extensively document public opinion on Israel and its relationship with other Middle Eastern nations, United States policies toward the region, and the press response to Israel, the Gulf War, Lebanon, the Yom Kippur War, and Zionism.
    Subseries D, Soviet Jewry (1971-1993), contains correspondence, photographs, ephemera, trip reports, and audio recordings of speeches and programs. The bulk of the files relate to specific Jewish individuals and families known as Refuseniks. The term refers primarily to Jewish individuals living in the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc that were denied permission to emigrate. The Soviet Jewry Commission advocated on behalf of Soviet Jews for their desired resettlement, preservation of their Jewish culture, and their rights under international laws. The Commission raised awareness through events, a speaker's bureau, telegram bank, grassroots educational programming, the Soviet Trade Fair Exhibit, and a Tribute book publication.
    Subseries E, Urban Affairs (1951-2000), contains correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, ephemera, press clippings, and audio files documenting the work of the Commission in dealing with the challenges of life in an urban society, the impact on the Jewish community, and the community's relationship with other ethnic, racial, and religious groups. The Commission worked on a number of programs and initiatives to develop and improve relationships with other Los Angeles communities, particularly with black and Latinx communities, although also with Korean, Japanese, Armenian, Muslim, and Polish communities. Relation building activities with the Latinx community were referred to at various points as Chicano-Jewish relations, Hispanic-Jewish relations, or Latino-Jewish relations. This subseries also contains materials related to the Koreh L.A. literacy program, Breed Street Shul, urban issues study and survey, Israel missions for urban leaders, and extensive clippings related to Louis Farrakhan.
    Subseries F, World Jewry (1944-2001), contains correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, ephemera, and audio files documenting the Commission's work monitoring and interpreting concerns related to the welfare of Jewish communities around the world, and coordinating programs on behalf of oppressed Jewish populations. The Commission focused especially on Ethiopia, Iran, and Syria, but also served as a resource for information on Jewish communities in Latin America and parts of Eastern Europe. The Ethiopian Jewish community is sometimes referred to as Falasha, which is no longer the preferred term for the community. Other areas of World Jewry Commission interest include memorials and restitution related to the Holocaust. In 1998 the Israel Commission merged with World Jewry. The Israel Commission aimed to advocate on behalf of Israel and educate the general public on the relationship between Israel and other nations. The Commission created programming to recognize anniversaries related to the founding of Israel and conducted outreach through an Israel Speakers Bureau. Both Commissions organized guest speakers and presentations related to topics on Israel's politics, Ethiopian Jewry, and anti-Semitism.
    Series III, Subject Files, includes research and information files on issues that were not directly part of Administration or Commission work. This includes information on allied and related organizations working at a national level and not directly administered by the Los Angeles JCRC, and unrelated organizations that the CRC retained information about. Represented organizations include the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Defense League, National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council and related plenaries, and the United Jewish Appeal. There also are many materials related to American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, an organization of academics working to present new policy ideas and approaches to the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to work toward lasting peace in the region. This series also contains general clippings on subject areas of interest, materials related to Los Angeles City and County programs, faith-based organizations, and correspondence and ephemera from other organizations' outreach efforts and projects.


    Series I: Administration, 1940-2004
    Series II: Commissions, 1933-2003
        Subseries A: Education, 1960-2000
        Subseries B: Government Relations, 1933-2003
        Subseries C: Middle East, 1965-1999
        Subseries D: Soviet Jewry, 1971-1993
        Subseries E: Urban Affairs, 1951-2000
        Subseries F: World Jewry, 1944-2001
    Series III: Subject Files, 1954-2000

    Conditions Governing Access:

    This collection is open for research use.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


    Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, 2015

    Preferred Citation

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Processing Information:

    Mallory Furnier, Jennifer Shelley, Katherine Sirca, Brianna Rhodes, 2019

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Audiovisual materials