Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

Skirball Institute on American Values

Manuscript Collection No. 721

1985-2003. 8.8 Linear ft.


The Skirball Institute on American Values Records were received from Eugene Mornell, Los Angeles, California, in May 2003.  Mr. Mornell, by the act of donating the Skirball Institute on American Values Records to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives.  All literary rights to material 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 available in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.


Jack H. Skirball created the Skirball Institute on American Values as an agency of the American Jewish Committee in 1985. Skirball was a successful motion picture producer, entrepreneur and rabbi who wanted to see the Jewish community in this country act as a constructive partner in the realization of the American dream. He perceived a close kinship between traditional Jewish ideals and American values.

Alfred Wolf was chosen by Jack Skirball to head the Institute after his death because of his pioneering accomplishments in bringing together religious leaders of all faiths and developing innovative programs to promote American values. In January 1996, after ten years of leadership, Rabbi Wolf reduced his activities and Eugene Mornell, nationally recognized for his work at the United States Commission on Civil Rights and Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, became Executive Director of the Skirball Institute. The Skirball Institute on American Values was supported entirely by the Skirball Foundation in New York, which funded many educational and philanthropic enterprises.

The Institute worked in different tracks. First, there was its involvement in American values research, which was guided by a “think tank without walls,” comprised of historians, sociologists and ethicists. They developed a framework for a systematic study of the effect of American values on the individual, the family, the community and the nation, with a special emphasis on immigrant populations and their American-born offspring. This study of American values by some of the nation’s leading academicians led to a major publication.

At the other end of the academic spectrum, the Institute conducted the Skirball Essay contest, in which high school students were encouraged to write on how their lives were affected by a value that can be illustrated by a person, event or document in American history. The Institute also offered Skirball Fellowship for students pursuing advanced degrees in an academic field related to American values. In addition, the Institute conducted a number of conferences, including National Seminary Presidents Conference for Catholic, Jewish and Protestant Seminary Presidents, Southern California Seminary Conference, Intentional Conversation, and Skirball Values Award. The institute also published monthly issues of newsletter, Speaking of Values, which addressed a specific question of American values. The format provided journalists and opinion leaders as well as friends of the institute with essays and commentary on the values under discussion.

Another significant activity of the institute was the Project Discovery. Project Discovery was co-sponsored by the Institute and the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Activities of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The enterprises range from dialogues involving priests, rabbis and lay leadership to the innovative use of rabbinic students as interns in Catholic high school; from annual camp conferences for future rabbis, priests and ministers to a permanent interreligious council comprising nine major world religions. A resource manual for Catholic-Jewish relations was also published entitled, A Journey of Discovery.  


Materials in the collection include working papers, news clippings, conference records, newspaper articles, official correspondence, research papers, bio-files and photographs. These documents are arranged according to material type in different series. Photographs are also arranged thematically in folders along with other documents. The span dates of the collection is 1985-2003.

The collection is divided into four (4) series as folllows:


Series: A Biographical files. The Bio-files sources series consist of two Hollinger boxes of resumes, publications, articles, photographs and correspondence. Span dates are 1985-2003. The series is arranged alphabetically in separate folders.

Series: B Correspondence. The correspondence files series consist of two Hollinger boxes of original as well as xerox copies of correspondence. Span dates are 1984-2003. The series is arranged alphabetically in separate folders.

Series: C Events. The events file series consist of eight Hollinger boxes of original as well as xerox copies of correspondence, brochures, program lists, invitations, acceptance letters and photographs. Span dates are 1985-2003. The series is arranged chronologically in separate folders.

Series: D Institutional. The Institutional file series consist of ten Hollinger boxes of budget reports, expenditure files, notes, correspondence, committee reports, minutes, photographs, project reports and publications. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject title.




1		1			Skirball Advisory Board Members bio file including photos.
		2			Bergreen, Morris.
		3			Rabbi Dorff, Elliot N.
		4			Mr. Erburu, Robert.
		5			Feldman, Beverly.
		6			Dr. Heinz, Hanspeter.
		7			Lipstadt, Deborah, E.
		8			Dr. Maguire, John David.
		9			Mornell, Eugene. S.

2		1			Marayati, Salam Al.
		2			Dr. Mouw, Richard J.
		3			Dr Nash, Gary.
		4			Skirball, Audrey.
		5			Skirball, Jack.
		6			Skotheim, Robert Allen.

3		1			Advisory Board: 1-04-2001 to May 5, 2003.
		2			American Jewish Committee, Accounting Department, 1-02-1985 to 12-05-1994.	
		3			Skirball Executive Committee, New York, 2-06-1989 to 5-12-1997.
		4			Bahat, Shula.
		5			Harris, David.
		6			Dr. Kerze, Michael A.
		7			Rev. Merrifield, Donald P., S.J.
		8			Mifflin, Houghton.	

4		1			Miscellaneous Correspondence.	
		2			Prince Boleyn XIII Charlemagne XXXV Robert. 
					Frederick Sheldon.
		3			Skirball Institute Correspondence, 4-13-1992 to 9-09-2002.
		4			Skirball Institute Correspondence, 5-20-1996 to12-16-1999.
		5			Stassen, Glen.
		6			Verizon.
		7			The Yellin Company.

5		1			“Fairness in the news media”, 12-10-1986.
		2			“Old immigrants, new immigrants: challenge and promise”, 3-12-1987.
		3			“What makes a value American”? 1988.
		4			Skirball Institute Convocation, 1-24-1990.
		5			“Altruism as an American value”, 1-24-1990.
		6			Skirball Institute 5th anniversary dinner, Dec. 1990.
		7			“Religious pluralism and the common good”, 2-27-1991.
		8			“Our challenge for the nineties: preventing religious and 
						ethnic balkanization”, April 26-28, 1993.

6		1			“Religion’s role in preserving the environment”, April 18-20, 1994.
		2			“Values in seminary education: an interfaith exploration”, 2-24-1995.
		3			“Religious value in an age of technology”, April 3-5, 1995.
		4			10th anniversary of the Skirball Institute of American
					 values, Nov.12, 1995.

7		1			Preaching, politics, and power: exploring the link between pulpit and ballot box, 							April 29-May1, 1996.
		2			“The conflict between faith and culture”, 2-22-1996.
		3			“Developing intellect, character, and spirit in seminary education”, 2-20-1997.
		4			“Religious values in a diverse society; living with differences of religion, race & 							culture, April 14-16, 1997.
		5			“The teaching of religious truth: mine, yours and theirs”, 2-27-1998.
		6			“Leaders to talk about, can they creatively co-exist”, Oct, 19-20, 1998.
		7			Apocalyptic visions and utopian dreams, Nov, 2-8, 1998.

8		1			“Faith and American culture”, 2-19-1999.
		2			An Intentional Conversation at Huntington, April 21, 1999.
		3			Intentional Conversation, May 23, 2000.
		4			“Theology in personal and professional practice”, Feb 25, 2000.
		5			National Seminary Conference, Oct 30, 2000.
		6			“Here I am: stories of personal faith”, March 2, 2001.
		7			National Seminary President Conference, Oct. 19-21, 2001.
		8			“The Seminary after September 11: the questions we have”, March 1, 2002.
		9			A gathering of ethics faculty, April 24, 2002.

9		1			Intentional Conversation, May 22, 2002.
		2			Ethics conference, Oct. 17, 2002.
		3			National Seminary Presidents’ Conference, Oct. 28, 2002.
		4			Ambassador Within, Jan.23, 2003.
		5			“Living a life that matters”, March 21, 2003.
		6			Intentional Conversation, May 13, 2003.

10		1			Skirball essay contest, 1989.
		2			Skirball essay contest, 1990.
		3			Skirball essay contest, 1991.
		4			Skirball essay contest, 1992.
		5			Skirball essay contest, 1993.

11		1			Skirball essay contest, 1994.
		2			Skirball essay contest, 1995.
		3			Skirball essay contest, 1996.
		4			Skirball essay contest, 1997.
		5			Skirball essay contest, 1998.
		6			Skirball essay contest, 1999.

12		1			Skirball essay contest, 2000.
		2			Skirball essay contest, 2001.
		3			Skirball essay contest, 2002.
		4			Skirball values award, 1997.
		5			Skirball values award, 2001.
		6			Skirball values award, 2002.
		7			Skirball values award, 2003.

13		1			Address Change.
		2			Advisory Board.
		3			Advisory Board.
		4			Advisory Board: budget and finance committee.
		5			Advisory Board: executive committee.
		6			Ambassador within.

14		1			American Jewish Committee.
		2			Institute for American values.
		3			Articles.

		4			Skirball Institute bank documents.
		5			Skirball Institute brochure.
		6			Skirball Institute budget and financial report.
		7			AJC- Catholic/Jewish ethics and public policy.
		8			Catholic religious education congress.
		9			Claremont graduate school.
		10			The common good national interfaith statement.
		11			Skirball cultural center.

15		1			Ethikon Institute.
		2			Skirball Institute: expenditure.
		3			Skirball fellowship on religion and civic life.
		4			Skirball conference, 1993 follow up and evaluation.
		5			Skirball conference, 1994 program.
		6			Skirball conference, 1994 follow up and evaluation.

16		1			Skirball conference, 1994 follow up.
		2			Skirball conference, 1994 Lee Lang’s report.
		3			Skirball conference, 1995 evaluation and follow up.
		4			Skirball conference, 1995 Lee Lang’s report.
		5			Skirball conference, 1996 follow up.
		6			Skirball conference, 1996 Lee Lang’s report.
		7			Skirball conference, 1997 Lee Lang’s report.
		8			Skirball conference, 1997 evaluation.
		9			Intentional conversation,1999 follow up.

17		1			Intentional conversation, 2001 follow up.
		2			Intentional conversation, 2002 follow up.
		3			Intentional conversation, 2003 follow up.
		4			Interreligious affairs of the American Jewish committee.
		5			Journey of discovery.

		6			Marian Wright Edelman and the children defense fund.
		7			Mentor project, 1990-91.
		8			Millennium Institute.
		9			Miscellaneous.
		10			National Seminary.
		11			National Seminary conference 2000 follow up.

18		1			National seminary presidents conference follow up, 2002.
		2			Newsletters.
		3			Newsletters permission request.
		4			Planning documents and proposals.
		5			Program specialist applications.
		6			Project discovery.

19		1			Research paper.
		2			Research paper.
		3			Research project-Deborah E. Lipstadt.
		4			Publication.

20		1			Saving remnant society.
		2			Saving remnant society follow up, 2000.
		3			Saving remnant society, 2001.
		4			School of theology at Claremont
		5			Sites for meetings.
		6			Skirball award of the year, 1999.

21		1			Skirball award nominations for 2000.
		2			Skirball essay contest press clippings.
		3			Skirball essay contest list of winners, 1993-2002.
		4			Skirball essay contest videotapes.
		5			Skirball Institute staff information.
		6			Statement of purpose.
		7			Skirball think tank.
		8			Skirball publication.

22		1			Skirball winning essays, 1989-2002.
		2			Youth task force.
Copyright © 2005 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives