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Jewish Community Relations Council records

Identifier: umja0013

Scope and Content

This collection consists of administrative documents dating between 1920 and 2013. Materials include meeting minutes, financial documents, subject files, correspondence, publications, publicity, press releases, event planning, CDs, DVDs, VHS, slides, tapes, photographs, and some artifacts. The majority of this collection consists of correspondence with other social advocacy organizations throughout the United States and subject files related to these organizations. Materials touch upon topics that impact the Jewish communities of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, in particular legislative issues in which the Jewish Community Relations Council advocated for social justice.

Please do note that some of the materials can be graphic in nature, depicting acts and thoughts of hate. When materials were deemed to be strongly graphic, a trigger warning note has been included in the Collection Contents listing for the folder.

Content notice

Due to the nature of the work of Jewish Community Relations Council, throughout this entire collection there are instances of materials with graphic, violent, and racist imagery alongside bigoted materials that are antisemitic, racist, homophobic, sexist, and contain offensive language.


  • Creation: 1920-2013


Use of Materials

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room. The digital files are available upon request. Please note that due to the sensitive and sometimes personal information found in some of the records (mostly anti-semitic incident reports) we do require researchers to sign an agreement that they will not record or use personal identifying information found in this collection. Please contact the archivist for further information.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives; please contact the archives for more detailed copyright information.

Historical Note

The first recorded incident of physical abuse to Jews in the state of Minnesota occured in 1882 when a streetcar conductor attempted to physically eject several Russian Jews because they were "unfit to occupy the car with other people." But the rise of anti-Semitism in the 1930s -- from the American Nationalist group the Silver Shirts to a volatile gubernatorial political campaign in 1938 with an overtly anti-Semitic campaign against Elmer Benson -- galvanized the state's Jewish community to action. The organization now known as the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas first took shape in 1938 as the Anti-Defamation Council of Minnesota, soon renamed the Minnesota Jewish Council under the leadership of Samuel Scheiner. Scheiner reviewed reports of anti-Semitic incidents, fighting against hate-filled leaflets and anti-Jewish remarks, while also attempting to expose discrimination by real estate agements and employers who attempted to subvert anti-discrimination laws. Through the second world war, the group continued to combat rising interreligious and intergroup tension while also raising concern over employment discrimination directed against Jews. By 1947 Minneapolis mayor Hubert H. Humphrey ordered an assessment of "intergroup relations" led by a collaboration of the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and the Minnesota Jewish Council, and by 1952 overt anti-Semitic acts were on the decline.

In 1959 the group changed its name to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota (JCRC). When Samuel Scheiner retired in 1974, new director Morton Ryweck ushered in a new era, merging with the local B'nai B'rith ADL to form the JCRC/ADL. Ryweck retired in 1991. By 2013 the JCRC of Minnesota and the Dakotas became independent of ADL. Other advocacy work over the years included support for Israel after the Jewish state was created in 1948, as well as advocacy work on behalf of Soviet Jews in the 1960s and 1970s. The agency monitors and combats violations of church-state separation in public schools, works to promote legislation to answer the needs of the underprivileged in Minnesota, and works as part of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition. Their mission remains -- as the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities. For more information, visit their website at:


135.12 Cubic Feet (124 boxes -- (114 paige boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 1 hollinger box, 4 cassette tape boxes))

6.4 Megabytes (72 digital files)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of the administrative records of the Jewish Community Relations Council, a non-profit organization that acts as the public affairs voice of the Jewish community in Minnesota and the Dakotas.


This collection is divided into series:

Series 1: General Administrative (1990s donation)

Series 2: General Administrative (2000s donations)

-- Subseries 1: General

-- Subseries 2: Government Affairs

-- Subseries 3: Israel

-- Subseries 4: Justice Squared

-- Subseries 5: Tolerance Minnesota

Series 3: Alan Weinblatt papers

Series 4: Soviet Jewry collection

Series 5: Media, Artifacts, and Publications

-- Subseries 1: Media

-- Subseries 2: Publications

-- Subseries 3: Artifacts

Source of acquisition

Donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest over various periods of time between 1994 and 2012 by executive directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council; further donations to the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives in 2014 by executive directors of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Related Materials

A large amount of early materials of the Jewish Community Relations Council can be found at the Minnesota Historical Society. The collection (P445) at MHS is 35.25 cubic feet and includes materials dating from 1922 to 1974. The finding aid can be found on their website at: Contact their archivists for questions regarding access to the collection.

Processing Information

This collection was first donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest in 1994 and was added to over time before it came to the University of Minnesota. Due to this, the organization of this collection varies by series. Series 1: General Administrative (1990s donation) reflects the first donation of materials. Series 2: General Administrative (2000s donations) reflects the various donations given throughout the 2000s; they are further organized by subseries -- General, Government Affairs, Israel, Justice Squared, and Tolerance Minnesota; these reflect the known departments that the materials came from. If a department was not known or obvious, it was listed in the General subseries. Series 3: Alan Weinblatt papers reflects the administrative records given separately by Weinblatt, who is a former president and board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Series 4: Soviet Jewry collection reflects materials that the Jewish Historical Society pulled from various JCRC files to create a subject collection surrounding Soviet Jewry. Series 5: Media, Artifacts, and Publications reflects all of the media (VHS, CD, DVD, tapes, and slides), artifacts, and various publications from other institutions.

Jewish Community Relations Council records, 1920-2013
Finding aid created by Kate Dietrick
June 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area