Access and Provenance

  Institutional Sketch

  Scope and Content Note

  Box and Folder Listing

  Subject Tracings

A Finding Aid to the

Cincinnati, Ohio -- Congregation Bene Yeshurun (Isaac M. Wise Temple) Records

Manuscript Collection No. 62

1841-1968. 2 Linear ft., 5 reels mcrflm.



The CONGREGATION BENE YESHURUN RECORDS were placed in the American Jewish Archives on a permanent loan basis. The records are open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights have not been dedicated to the public. Any questions concerning literary or copyrights should be addressed to the Administrative Director of the American Jewish Archives.


The Bene Yeshurun Congregation was founded as a result of a large migration of German Jews to Cincinnati, Ohio in the mid-19th century. On September 19, 1841, the Congregation was organized and in 1848, its temple was dedicated on Lodge Street in the West End of Cincinnati.

 In April of 1854, Bene Yeshurun called to its pulpit Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise. Wise was destined to become one of the leading rabbis of the country and the strongest influence in the development of Reform Judaism in the United States. From the beginning of his career, Wise introduced reforms in the ritual, making Rene Yeshurun a pioneer Reform Jewish Congregation. Many of the institutions of the new Reform movement were developed by Wise and were, to a large extent, directed by him until his death in 1900.

 Wise was succeeded by Louis Grossmann who held the pulpit from 1900 to 1921. James G. Heller, the son of a Reform rabbi from New Orleans, Maximillian H. Heller, was elected rabbi in 1921.

 In 1931, Bene Yeshuruh Congregation merged with Congregation Sherith Israel Ahabath-Achim (Reading Road Temple) to form the Isaac M. Wise Temple, Rene Yeshurun Congregation. Rabbi Samuel Wohl became the assistant rabbi of the congregation in 1931. Rene Yeshurun operated a synagogue at Eighth and Plum Streets, and a center at Reading and North Crescent Avenue. Heller left Wise Temple in 1952, and Rabbi Albert Goldman became Wohl's colleague.

 In 1970, Wohl died, and Goldman became the senior Rabbi. Goldman supervised the congregational move to Amberley Village. The congregation now holds services in the Plum Street Temple and in its Center on Ridge Road.

 NOTE: For a fuller discussion of the development of Reform Judaism in Cincinnati, Ohio, see the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 3 1941 edition.



The Bene Yeshurun Records, 1841-1968, consist of correspondence, minute books, reports, committee records, financial records, and nearprint about the activities of the congregation. The collection spans the years 1841 through 1968 and includes a good description of the various affairs of the Cincinnati Jewish Community from 1925 to 1968. The records are divided into four series:

  • SERIES A. CORRESPONDENCE, 1920-1957 consists of two boxes of personal and congregational material written by Rabbis Heller and Wohl. Particularly interesting sections of the records and correspondence include the attempts of the Congregation to solve their financial problems emanating from the Great Depression in the early 1930's and the Congregation's interests in the affairs of the newly founded State of Israel in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Included in this material are letters to and from Siegfried Geismar, Nelson Glueck, Jacob Rader Marcus, Golda Meir, Julian Morgenstern, and Isaac Max Rubinow.

     SERIES B. FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1894-1914 consists of two reels of microfilm. Included on the microfilms are journals, ledgers, and receipts of the Building Committee. Some of the material is undated.

     SERIES C. MINUTE BOOKS, 1841-1968 consists of four Hollinger boxes one oversize volume, and two microfilm reels of minutes arranged chronologically. Included are the minutes of the various boards of directors, finance committees, and religious school committees.

     SERIES D. MISCELLANEOUS, 1866-1932 consists of a Religious School Notebook, 1932 and one reel of microfilm containing Mortuary Records, 1900-1917; Pew Book Records, 1866-1923; and a President's Annual Report, 1921-1927.



    BOX     FOLDER        CONTENTS
             Note: The material in this series is arranged
             chronologically by the date of the correspondence, To
             obtain a more complete listing of the correspondents and
             subjects within this collection, this list should be used
             in conjunction with the Subject Tracings.
    1               1       1906,      General.
                    2       1920-1923,
                            1926-1927, 1929, General.
                    3       1930,      General.
                    4       1931,      General.
                    5       1932,      General.
                    6       1933,      General.
                    7       1934,      General.
                    8       1935,      General.
                    9       1936,      General.
    2               1       1937,      General.
                    2       1938,      General.
                    3       1941-1942, General.
                    4       1941 Nov., Eleanor Roosevelt visit to 
                                        Cincinnati. 1943-1946,
                    5       1943-1946  General.
                    6       1947,      General. 
                    7       1948,      General. 
                    8       1949,      General. 
                    9       1950,      General.
                    10      1951,      General. 
                    11      1952,      General. 
                    12      1952-1957, General. 
                    13      n.d.,      Miscellaneous.
    microfilm #1972 1897-1902, Cash receipts journal.
                            1902-1908, Accounts receivable journal.
                            1903-1914, Accounts payable journal.
                            n.d.,      Receipts of Building Committee. 
    microfilm #1973 1903-1914, Ledger.
    microfilm #1974 1894-1904, Ledger.
    3                       1841-1872, 1849-1859.
    X-107                   1859-1872, Trustees Minutes.
    4                       1872-1891.
    5                       1891-1906, includes notebook of business payments.
    6                       1896-1900.
    #2623-2624              1916-1968, Board of Trustees.
    6                       Weitz, Martin M. The Jewish World [Religious school
                            notebook/scrapbook written while Weitz was a student
                            at Hebrew Union College], 1931-1933.
    microfilm #1974 1900-1917, Mortuary Records.
                            1866-1923, Pew Book Record Book.
                            1921-1927, President's Annual Report.
    X-387                   n.d.,      Membership Records.

    Note:    The following list of subjects is a selective index to many of the people and topics in the CORRESPONDENCE series of the CONGREGATION BENE YESHRUN (CINCINNATI, OHIO) RECORDS. It is selective in that it only attempts to draw attention to the more  significant items in the collection.  References are to boxes and folders: e.g. 1/5 means Box 1 Folder 5.

             Adler, Cyrus      1/2
             Barkley, Alben W.   2/4
             Berry, Theodore 1/4, 6
             Bettman, Gilbert 1/8
             Binstock, Louis 1/3
             Englander, Henry 1/8
             Feinberg, Louis 1/4
             Geismar, Siegfried 1/5, 7
             Hamilton County Department of Welfare  1/6
             Holmes, John Haynes  2/13
             Jewish Consumptives Relief Society 1/3
             Lazaron, Morris S. 1/7
             Lehman, Herbert H. 1/5
             Magrish, James L. 2/1, 3
             Marcus, Jacob Rader  2/11
             Meir (Meyerson), Golda  2/9
             Morgenstern, Julian  1/3, 8; 2/12
             Newberger, George 2/3, 8
             Newfield, Morris 1/4
             Philipson, David  1/4, 2/1
             Rubinow, Isaac Max 1/5
             Sachar, Abram L. 2/11
             Sievers, Maurice 1/4, 2/1, 6
             Silver, Abba Hillel  1/6
             Singer, Celia S. 1/6
             Szold, Henrietta 1/6
             Untermyer, Samuel 1/6, 2/1
             Warburg, Edward M. M. 2/8, 1/2
             Weitz, Martin M.    2/12, 6/1
             Wohl, Samuel   2/1, 2/2, 2/3, 2/4, 2/5, 2/6, 
                             2/7, 2/8, 2/9, 2/10, 2/11, 2/12, 2/13
             Wolsey, Louis   1/3


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