Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

David Max Eichhorn Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 79

1955-1974. 0.4 Linear ft.


The David Max Eichhorn Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by Rabbi Eichhorn in 1975. Property rights to the materials are held by the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights have not been dedicated to the public. Literary rights to materials authored by Eichhorn are held by the Eichhorn heirs, others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives.

The David Max Eichhorn Papers are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


David Max Eichhorn was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, January 6, 1906, the son of Joseph and Anna (Zivi) Eichhorn. Eichhorn attended the religious school of Temple Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was confirmed there in 1921. He graduated from Columbia High School in 1923 and entered Hebrew Union College in 1924. Eichhorn graduated from HUC and was ordained in 1931. Eichhorn then received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from HUC in 1938.

Eichhorn was the first rabbi of Sinai Temple, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1932-1934. Unfortunately he was forced to leave this pulpit because the congregation could not pay his $1500 annual salary due to the economic depression. He then became the rabbi at Sinai Temple in Texarkana, Arkansas from 1935-1938. In 1939-1942 Eichhorn became the first rabbi of Temple Israel in Tallahassee, Florida and was also the first Hillel director in the state of Florida for the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee.

Eichhorn enlisted as a chaplain in the United States Army and served from 1942-1945. Eichhorn was assigned to combat units throughout the war and was among the troops that liberated Dachau. After the war he was assigned supervisor of Jewish DP activities in the American occupation zone in Austria where he remained until returning home in 1945. After returning he worked for the Committee on Army and Navy Religious Activities (known later as the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy) of the National Jewish Welfare Board as Director of Field Operations of the federal chaplaincy program. While in this position he conducted spiritual retreats for Jewish chaplains and servicemen in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Eichhorn retained his active status in the United States Army Reserve and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1968. He was also the president of the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces, 1953-1955.

Eichhorn wrote many books, including Cain, Son of the Serpent, an analysis of the midrashim on chapter four of Genesis, 1957; Musing of the Old Professor, a translation and commentary on Ecclessiastes, 1963; and Conversion to Judaism: A History and Analysis, 1965. He was known primarily for research in the fields of conversion and intermarriage.

Eichhorn married Zelda Socol of Texarkana, Arkansas in 1935. They had four children: Jonathan, Michael, Jeremiah, and Judith Ann.

David Max Eichhorn died on July 16, 1986.


The David Max Eichhorn papers (1955-1974) contain correspondence relating to the question of Reform rabbis officiating at intermarriages. This was and remains an important issue to the Reform movement and the larger Jewish community in the post World War II era. Eichhorn worked with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) to try and resolve this issue based upon an analysis of sacred texts, traditions, and common practice. This issue has not been resolved completely for the Reform movement or for any other branch of Judaism, but Eichhorn was a voice of authority on this issue until his death in 1986.

This collection contains only correspondence and is arranged chronologically in a single series.


Box	Folder	Contents
1 1 Correspondence. 1955-1957. 2 Correspondence. 1963-1966. 3 Correspondence. 1967-1969. 4 Correspondence. 1971. 5 Correspondence. 1972. 6 Correspondence. Jan 1973- Jul 1973. 7 Correspondence. Jul 1973-1974.

Copyright © 2003 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives