NJCOS-Logo-CircleRsmallFounded in 1926, the National Jewish Committee on Scouting is and has been an integral part of the Scouting movement since its earliest days. Nationally, Jews have been involved with the Scouting movement at both its highest levels and from its grass roots, ever since the founding of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  Due to the work of numerous individuals and through the courtesy of many Scouters, we are able to post a collection of several historical documents for all to view.

As with any historical documents, these were written at a particular time for a particular audience. While much has changed over time, these documents afford us a glimpse into our history.

Scouting_Jewish_BS_cover_editOne of the earliest of these documents was a 40-page document published by the Jewish Committee on Scouting under the auspices of chairman Cyrus Adler circa 1926. Titled “Scouting and the Jewish Boy,” it contains a forward by Chief Scout Executive James West and Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States of America.

As part of its outreach to its constituency and as a measure of reporting progress to the National Council of the BSA, several reports were presented during the early years of the committee and incorporated into the BSA’s annual reports. The first of these annual reports we have to present was submitted in 1935. It was followed by the 1936 and 1937 annual reports. The last of the BSA annual reports that we present was made in 1940.

A 1934 pamphlet titled “What Is a Boy Scout?” contains both English and Yiddish to explain the Scout Oath, the purpose of Scouting in defining character and developing citizenship, the use of the uniform and basic information about the cost associated with the program. It contains a historic photo of Scouts reciting morning prayers and wearing tefillin (phylacteries) with the caption “A Scout is Reverent.”