TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 98
Barnett R. Brickner
Barnett Robert Brickner was born in New York City on September 14, 1892 to Joseph and Bessie (Furman) Brickner. He received his B.S. degree in 1913 and his M.A. degree in 1914 from Columbia University in New York. In 1919 he was ordained as a rabbi at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1920 he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Social Sicences from the University of Cincinnati.
In 1920 Brickner became a rabbi at the Holy Blossom Synagogue in Toronto, Canada. During his tenure as rabbi at Holy Blossom, the congregation joined the Reform movement. He also founded the journal Canadian Jewish Review, was president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, founded the Ontario Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which led a movement that brought 5000 Russian Jews to Canada from Romania and founded the Ontario Jewish Agricultural School.
In 1925 Brickner left Toronto for Cleveland, Ohio where he became rabbi at Congregation Anshe Chesed. He remained there until his death in 1958.
Brickner was involved in numerous activities. From 1910 to 1915 he worked with the Bureau of Education in New York under Dr. Samson Benderly. During World War I he was director of the Training School and Personnel Division of the Jewish Welfare Board with the United States Army and Navy. He was an honorary chairman of the United Jewish Appeal and was General Chairman of the Jewish Welfare Fund in Cleveland. He also was a founder of the Young Judea movement and served on the executive boards of the National Association of Jewish Education, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, among others. In 1954 he was elected president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
During World War II Brickner was Administrative Chairman of the Committee on Army and Navy of the National Jewish Welfare Board, which supervised Jewish chaplains in the armed forces. In 1944 President Roosevelt sent Brickner on a tour of all the war fronts to inspect and visit chaplains and troops. In 1947, Brickner was awarded the Medal of Merit for his efforts during the war. It marked the first time a rabbi had ever received the award. He was also awarded the Naval Citation for meritorius personal service.
Brickner authored The History of Jews in Cincinnati, The God-Idea in the Light of Modern Thought and Project Method in Jewish Education.
In 1945 Hebrew Union College awarded him with the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1928 Brickner debated Clarence Darrow in Cleveland on the subject "Is Man a Machine?". Brickner, arguing against the proposal, was declared the winner by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio and the faculty of Western Reserve University.
In 1919 he married Rebecca Ena Aaronson. They had two children: Joy Marion (Mrs. Samuel Rabinowitz) and Arthur James Brickner, who became a rabbi and leader in the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
Barnett R. Brickner died in Spain on May 14, 1958 following an automobile accident, at the age of 65.
Rebecca A. Brickner
Rebecca A. Brickner was born Rebecca Ena Aaronson in Baltimore, Maryland on February 22, 1894. She attended Teachers College, Columbia University, New York; the School for Jewish Communal Work, New York; Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati; and Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Mrs. Brickner was the first woman professional Jewish educator in the United States. She helped organize the Bureau of Jewish Education in New York, with Dr. Samson Benderly in 1910. She taught at the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She also organized a preparatory school in New York for high school girls to prepare them for careers in teaching and group work. She introduced the study of Hebrew into the entire Sunday School of Temple Emanu-El in New York.
Mrs. Brickner was a founder of Hadassah and she served on the organization's national board. She started and organized Hadassah in Canada in 1921. She also began the first Reform Jewish Sisterhood in Canada.
Mrs. Brickner served on many boards and organizations, including ORT, the American Association for Jewish Education, Women's Division of Technion, National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, Reform Jewish Appeal and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, of which she was a member of the organization's World Governing Body.
In 1925 at Congregation Anshe Chesed in Cleveland, Ohio, Mrs. Brickner became the first woman in the United States to conduct an entire temple service and read from the Torah in Hebrew.
In 1972 Mrs. Brickner received an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. In 1973 she earned a Master's degree in Hebrew from that same college. In 1974, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in lieu of ordination, gave a tribute to Mrs. Brickner, signed by President Alfred Gottschalk, at a formal religious service in New York.
The Barnett R. and Rebecca A. Brickner Papers (1905-1982) describe the careers of Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner and his wife Rebecca. The collection includes correspondence, sermons, addresses, manuscripts, newsclippings, photographs and personal items.
This collection also includes two oversize boxes of scrapbooks and photograph albums. (X-311 and X-312).
For further information, please consult the card catalog in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives and indexes to correspondents and writing titles, which are available in the reading room copy of Brickner finding aid at the American Jewish Archives.
The papers are divided into two series:
Terms of Access and Use
The Barnett and Rebecca Brickner Papers are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
Property and Literary Rights
Rebecca Brickner, by the act of donating the Barnett and Rebecca Brickner Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights are retained by Brickner heirs. Literary rights may also be retained by specific creators of materials.
Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.
X-311 to X-312. Oversize scrapbooks.
Four diplomas of Barnett R. Brickner have been separated from the collection and placed into the flat file.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Barnett and Rebecca Brickner Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-98. Barnett and Rebecca Brickner Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Barnett and Rebecca Brickner Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by Mrs. Rebecca A. Brickner of Cleveland, Ohio, in October 1970. In October, 1981, Mrs. Brickner presented an additional supplement of her and her husband's papers to the Archives.
Processed by Kevin Proffitt, May, 1982.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the American Jewish Archives's online catalog.
Persons and Families
Brickner, Rebecca A. (Rebecca Aaronson), b. 1894 -- Manuscripts -- Photographs
Congregation Anshe Chesed (Cleveland, Ohio)
Jews -- Ohio -- Cleveland
Jewish women -- Ohio -- Cleveland
Jews -- Canada -- Ontario -- Toronto
Rabbis' spouses -- United States
Reform Judaism -- Canada -- Ontario -- Toronto
Reform Judaism -- Ohio -- Cleveland
Genres and Forms
Jewish sermons, American
Rabbis -- Ohio -- Cleveland
Rabbis -- Ontario -- Toronto