TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 119
Edward L. Israel, rabbi, social justice activist and labor Zionist, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1896 to Charles and Emma (Linz) Israel. He was educated at Harvard University and received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1917 as well as a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College where he was also ordained as a rabbi.
Upon ordination Israel became the rabbi of B'rith Sholom Congregation in Springfield, Illinois in 1919-1920, and from 1920-1923 he served as rabbi of the Washington Avenue Temple in Evansville, Indiana. In 1923, he was called to become senior rabbi of Har Sinai of Baltimore, Maryland. He remained in that post until his retirement in 1941, a few months before his death. Following retirement, he was called to serve as executive director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
Israel consistently was a strong supporter of labor and served as a one-man arbitrator in the men's clothing industry in arguments with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of Americirca He was selected by both the employers and the union for the settling of disputes. A well- known liberal , Israel resigned in 1940 from the advisory committee of the American Youth Congress, and about four years earlier resigned from the national executive board of the American League for Peace and Democracy. He charged both groups with having fallen into communist hands.
Israel was the chairman of the Synagogue Council of America and an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis as well as the chair of its Commission on Social Justice from 1923-1933. He was also a member of the executive committee of the World Jewish Congress, the executive boards of the National Public Housing Conference, the National Housing Commission and the National Religion and Labor Foundation. Israel was also on the administrative committee of the Zionist Organization of America, executive committee of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation, national co-chairman of the United Services Organization, and a member of the Hebrew Union College Board of Governors. Many other organizations of religious or civic purposes had received his aid as a committee member or official.
In 1919, Israel married Amelia Dryer of Cincinnati. They had two sons, Charles and Edward L. Israel, Jr.
Edward L. Israel died suddenly on October 19, 1941 just after he was installed as the executive director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
The Edward L. Israel papers (1913-1970) contain the correspondence, sermons, addresses, and personal items of Edward L. Israel, a rabbi, Zionist and social activist. The bulk of the correspondence is in regard to his work as a social activist and rabbi, mostly from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Also included are newspaper clippings of Israel's career and his diaries from the 1930s. Box X-210 contains a wealth of photographs from all periods of Israel's life which, combined with his diaries, provides a full picture of his life. Other personal items include his wife Amelia's bride book and his son Edward L. Israel, Jr's baby book. Abraham I. Shinedling's memoir is also an important part of this collection.
The papers are arranged in one general series.
Terms of Access
The collection is open for use. Box 1, Folders 9-10 are restricted; permission of Charles E. Israel required for access.
Terms of Reproduction and Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce, with exceptions for fair use, may be obtained through the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. Please address queries to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information, see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Edward Leopold Israel Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-119. Edward Leopold Israel Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Edward Leopold Israel Papers were received from Charles E. Israel and Edward L. Israel, Jr., through Haim Asa in 1982.
Processed by Kevin Proffitt; updated by Christine A. Crandall. July 2002
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA's online catalog.
Persons and Families
Israel, Edward Leopold -- 1896-1941 -- Manuscripts -- Photographs
Har Sinai Congregation (Baltimore, Md.)
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
Jews -- Maryland -- Baltimore
Genres and Forms
Jewish sermons, American
Rabbis -- Maryland -- Baltimore