A Finding Aid to the
Dayton, Ohio -- Temple Israel Records
Manuscript Collection No. 616
1909-1974. 3 Linear ft.
The DAYTON, OHIO - TEMPLE ISRAEL RECORDS were presented to the American Jewish Archives by Temple Israel in June, 1995. The American Jewish Archives holds all property rights to the collection but literary rights have not been dedicated to the public. Any questions concerning literary or opyrights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives. The DAYTON, OHIO - TEMPLE ISRAEL RECORDS are open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.
INSTITUTIONAL SKETCH top
In 1850, a small Jewish community in Dayton, Ohio, which numbered twelve households, created a Hebrew Society and began to conduct services in rented rooms near Monument and Main Streets in downtown Dayton. The Hebrew Society also purchased a cemetery on the outskirts of Dayton on what is now known as the Rubicon Street (an alley parallel to Stewart). The new Hebrew Society designated a Mr. Wendel as its first Reader. Within a year, the Society created a formal synagogue known as K.K. B'nai Yeshurun. Later, the congregation outgrew the original rented rooms and moved south a block to larger quarters in another rented space. In 1863, the congregation purchased a former Baptist church at the northeast corner of Fourth and Jefferson Streets. Rev. Mr. Delbanco was the Senior Reader at the time. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise came from Cincinnati to help with the dedication of the new Temple which became the seventh congregation-owned Jewish House of Worship in Ohio. The period 1860-1870 saw great changes in the religious format of the congregation's services due to the leadership and ideas of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the father of Reform Judaism in America. In 1873, this synagogue became one of the first thirteen to join Rabbi Wise in forming the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. The community continued to grow and in 1891, a new structure was built at First and Jefferson Streets. Once again, Rabbi Wise came from Cincinnati along with Rabbi David Philipson and joined Rabbi Max Wertheimer of K.K. B'nai Yeshurun at the dedication of the new temple. At the turn of the century, the congregation was comprised of about 150 families. Rabbi Wertheimer left Dayton in 1900 and was followed by a graduate of Hebrew Union College, Rabbi David Lefkowitz, who served the congregation for 20 years. During his tenure, Lefkowitz was an active force in Dayton's civic and interfaith activities and became a highly visible ambassador of the Jewish Community to the Dayton area. He became a prototype for rabbis who succeeded him. Lefkowitz was succeeded in 1920 by Rabbi Samuel S. Mayerberg. Mayerburg was known for his oratorical skills and his crusades for moral and police reforms in Dayton. The congregation grew to over 200 families under his tenure, and Rabbi Mayerberg was instrumental in starting the movement for a larger Temple at the corner of Salem and Emerson in Dayton View. The new Temple was completed in 1927. It was at this time that K.K. B'nai Yeshurun received the alternate title of Temple Israel. Rabbi Louis Witt followed Lefkowitz in 1927. During his 18-year term, Rabbi Witt was dedicated to fostering interfaith understanding and was active in community and civic affairs. With increased immigration, the Jewish population of Dayton was growing and Temple Israel's majority of German congregants was gradually replaced by a more diverse community of Jews. During Rabbi Witt's tenure, Temple Israel grew to nearly 500 families and a movement for a new Temple building was inaugurated. Rabbi Witt retired in 1947 and was succeeded by Rabbi Selwyn D. Ruslander. Rabbi Ruslander led Temple Israel during the years of its greatest growth. He inaugurated many programs that received national recognition, and was probably the best known clergyman of any faith in the Dayton community. Under Rabbi Ruslander, an active youth group was organized and the Religious School was restructured. In 1953, a new sanctuary was constructed on the grounds of Salem and Emerson Avenues. During the decade of the 1960's, Temple Israel increased its membership to 1100 families and appointed Assistant Rabbis Howard R. Greenstein and Joseph S. Weisenbaum. In 1969, Rabbi Ruslander died, and after an interim period where Rabbis Greenstein and Weisenbaum provided leadership, Rabbi Paul Irving Bloom was appointed to the pulpit of Temple Israel in 1973.
SCOPE AND CONTENT top
The DAYTON, OHIO - TEMPLE ISRAEL RECORDS consist of general files which document various Temple activities such as committee work, membership activities, special events, community outreach, and educational endeavors. The files date from 1950-1974, although most of the material falls within the years 1964-1974. Other materials in the collection relate to Rabbi Selwyn Ruslander's activities with the Jewish Chaplaincy, 1961-1969, and there is a single volume of cemetery lot records, 1909-1957. The collection falls into three series: A. GENERAL FILES B. RABBI RUSLANDER'S CHAPLAINCY FILES C. CEMETERY LOT RECORDS. Series A. GENERAL FILES, consists of 2 linear feet of alphabetical files which document the Temple's activities through correspondence, reports, bulletins, brochures, minutes, and working papers. Included are files pertaining to Temple committees, membership, Jewish education, communal activities, community outreach, interfaith relations, Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies,annual reports, and various congregational and rabbinical activities. Span dates for the series are 1950-1974 with the bulk of materials falling in the years 1964-1974. Series B. RABBI RUSLANDER'S CHAPLAINCY FILES, consists of 1 linear foot of files and includes correspondence, reports, and minutes pertaining to Rabbi Selwyn Ruslander's activities with the National Jewish Welfare Board's Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy, the Central Conference of American Rabbi's (CCAR) Committee on Chaplaincy, and the Association of Jewish Chaplains. Of special interest are records of Hebrew Union College rabbinical students who applied for conscientious objector status from CCAR's military chaplaincy program during the Vietnam war. See also Rabbi Ruslander's Papers. Span dates for this series are 1961-1969. Series C. CEMETERY LOT RECORDS, consists of a partially filled volume recording burials in plots of a cemetery. The name of the cemetery is not noted in the volume. Span dates for the burials are 1909-1957.
BOX AND FOLDER LIST top
Box Folder Contents SERIES A: GENERAL FILES 1 1 Adult Jewish Education. 1972-1974 2 Adult Psychiatric Clinic. 1968-1970 3 American Association for Jewish Education. 1965 4 Annual Reports. 1968-1971 5 Baccalaureate. 1963-1967 6 Bar Mitzvah. 1954-1966 7 Bar & Bat Mitzvah. 1963-1974 8 Biennial Committee. 1968-1969 9 Board of Directors, Executive Board. 1969-1970 10 Bureau of Jewish Education. 1965-1971 11 Community Relations Committee. 1970-1971 12 Confirmation 1970-1973 13 Constitution 1968 Correspondence - Rabbi Howard Greenstein 14 A - E 1970-1973 15 F - H 1970-1973 16 I - Z 1970-1973 17 Miscellaneous 1971-1972 18 Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds 1967-1968 19 Couples Club 1968 20 Cultural Development Brotherhood 1966-1967 21 Choir 1965 22 Choir 1966-1967 23 Choir 1968-1970 24 Choral Presentation (May 14, 1967) 1967 25 Clergy Institute 1948-1968 26 Clergy Institute 1965-1968 27 Clergy Institute 1968-1969 2 1 Dayton Clergy and Lay Consultation Service on Abortion 1970-1972 2 Dayton Community Hebrew School 1965-1973 3 Dayton Hebrew School Curriculum 1971 4 Dedication of Ruslander Building 1971 5 Eisendrath International Exchange 1971 6 Emerson School Project 1966-1968 7 Executive Committee Minutes 1973-1974 8 Foundation - Temple Israel 1970-1974 9 Funerals 1972-1973 10 Hebrew Union College 1971-1973 11 High Holidays 1964-1968 12 Hillel 1965-1969 13 History of Temple Israel 1950 14 Housing Opportunity Committee 1967-1969 15 Human Relations Commission 1968-1969 16 Interfaith 1970-1974 17 Installation - Rabbi Paul Bloom 1973 18 Jewish Community Council 1968-1973 19 Judaic Studies Program, Univ. of Dayton 1968-1969 20 Membership Committee 1964-1969 21 Men's Club 1970-1974 22 New Members Dinner 1964-1968 23 Next President's file 1969 24 Sisterhood Services n.d. 25 Memory Book 1969 26 Message of Israel 1969 27 National Jewish Welfare Board 1964-1973 28 Ohio Valley Council - UAHC 1969-1970 29 Ohio Youth Commission Advisory Board 1964 30 Past Presidents 1966 31 Religious School 1969-1972 32 Ruslander, Selwyn - Biographical 1967 33 Saunders Trusteeship 1963-1972 34 Scholar in Residence 1970-1974 35 Standing Committees 1966-1968 36 Standing Committees 1968-1969 37 Standing Committees 1969-1970 38 Standing Committees 1972-1973 39 Survey Committee 1970-1971 SERIES B: RABBI RUSLANDER'S CHAPLAINCY FILES 3 1 Directory of Chaplaincy Service 1967 2 Minutes and Reports 1961-1969 3 CCAR Committee on Chaplaincy 1964-1966 4 CCAR Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy 1965-1967 5 CCAR Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy 1966-1967 6 Conscientious Objector Status 1968 7 Association of Jewish Chaplains 1965-1968 8 Seniors HUC-JIR 1968-1969 9 Chaplaincy Procurement Program 1966 10 Eichhorn, Rabbi David Max 1965-1968 11 Michelson, Rabbi Elihu 1964-1967 12 Korn, Rabbi Bertrand W. 1964-1966 13 Lev, Rabbi Aryeh 1966-1967 14 Schwartzman, Rabbi Sylvan 1965-1967 15 Sandrow, Rabbi Edward T. 1967-1969 16 Vietnam 1967 17 HUC-JIR Chaplaincy Processing Kit 1966-1968 18 Jewish Chaplains Retreat 1967 SERIES C: CEMETERY RECORDS 4 1 Cemetery Lot Ledger 1909-1957
SUBJECT TRACINGS top
Note: This list represents a selective guide to the significant subjects dealt with in the DAYTON, OHIO - TEMPLE ISRAEL RECORDS. References are to boxes and folders, i.e. 1/7 = Box 1, Folder 7. This list must be used in conjunction with the Box and Folder List in the inventory. Abortion 2/1 Bar & Bat Mitzvah 1/6, 1/7 Chaplaincy, Jewish 3/1 - 3/18 Committees 1/35, 1/36, 1/37. 1/38, 1/39 Community relations 1/11 Conscientious Objector status, 3/6 Education, Jewish 1/1, 1/3, 1/10, 2/2, 2/3 Hebrew Union College, 2/10, 3/6, 3/8 Interfaith relations 1/26, 1/27, 1/28, 2/16 Judaic Studies 2/19 Music 1/22, 1/23, 1/24, 1/25 Vietnam War 3/16, 3/18, 3/6