Jewish Historical Society Dispute Ended; Will Move Quarters to Brandeis

A lengthy internal dispute in the American Jewish Historical Society over moving its headquarters from New York to the Brandeis University campus was reported today by the university as ended with dismissal of a suit against the transfer filed in federal court.

With transfer obstacles removed, the Society asked a New York architectural firm, to prepare preliminary designs for a headquarters building for the 73-year-old research and publication organization. The university made the site available to the Society. The building will be named for the late Lee M. Friedman of Boston, former president of the Society, who left the bulk of his estate to the Society. Funds for the building were provided in his will.

Leon J. Obermayer, Society president, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the will left the Society about $1,600,000 of which about $600,000 would be used for the new headquarters building. He said he could not give a date for the start of construction on the new structure because a determination must be made by the Surrogate Court in Boston on whether the transfer of the headquarters in any way violates the terms of the will. He explained that the will stipulated that the bequest was contingent on the Society remaining an independent organization and that the Society preferred to obtain a formal court ruling before proceeding.

He added that a friendly suit had been filed in the Surrogate Court for a determination and that, since there was no litigation involved, an early ruling was expected. He stated that the independence of the Society was assured in the arrangements with Brandeis University. The decision to relocate the headquarters was made by the Society’s executive council after an extended analysis of possible locations in a number of cities. The vote confirmed earlier decisions of the executive council and a referendum of the Society’s membership.

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