Access and Provenance 

Biographical Sketch 

Scope and Content Note 

Box and Folder Listing 

A Finding Aid to the

David Lefkowitz, Sr. Papers 

Manuscript Collection No. 195

1900-1952. 2.8 Linear ft.


 The David Lefkowitz Sr. Papers were donated to the American Jewish Archives by various sources, including Helen Lefkowitz, Shreveport Louisiana in August 1999 and June 2000. Helen Lefkowitz, by the act of donating the David Lefkowitz Sr. Papers to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material authored by David Lefkowitz are held by the Lefkowitz heirs. All literary rights to material authored by others are retained by the individuals and their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. The papers are available to researchers in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.


 David Lefkowitz was born on 11 April 1875 in Eperies, Hungary. He emigrated from Hungary to the United States (ca. 1881) with his widowed mother and two brothers.  Because of financial problems, he and one brother grew up in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City.  To help pay for his schooling, he later worked for the Orphan Asylum. Lefkowitz earned a B.S. from the College of the City of New York in 1894, and the University of Cincinnati in 1899. Lefkowitz was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1900.
  Between 1900-1920, Lefkowitz was the rabbi at Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Dayton, Ohio. During his tenure the congregation grew from 82 families to over 300 families. Lefkowitz was also active in municipal issues such as government corruption and playground associations.

 In 1920, temple president Herbert Marcus recruited Lefkowitz to Temple Emanu-El in Dallas Texas where he remained until his death. Lefkowitz became Rabbi Emeritus in 1947 but remained active in the congregation. His interests included social justice and Judaic- Christin relations.  Working with his rabbinic successor Levi Olan, he published a book of his writings in 1952 entitled Medicine for a Sick World. He also taught at Southern Methodist University and led the local Community Chest Organization.

 Lefkowitz was a strong supporter of Jewish organizations. He served as an officer in the World Union for Progressive Judaism in the 19302 , as well as the Central Conference of American Rabbis where he was president from 1929-1931.  Lefkowitz was also active in the Texas Kallah, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the board of the Hebrew Union College.

  David Lefkowitz married Sadie Braham of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1901. They had four children: Lewis, Henry, Helen and David Jr. David Jr. assisted his father at Temple Emanu- El from 1937-1940.

Related AJA Collections
Central Conference of American Rabbis Records. MSS. Collection No. 34.

Feldman, Abraham Papers. MSS. Collection No. 38.

Lefkowitz, David Sr.. Nearprint Biography File.

Morgenstern, Julian Papers. MSS. Collection No. 30.

Olan, Levi A. Papers. MSS. Collection No. 181.

World Union of Progressive Judaism Records. MSS. Collection No. 16.


 The DAVID LEFKOWITZ SR. PAPERS (1900-1952) describe the rabbinic and professional activities of David Lefkowitz Sr., who served as the rabbi at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Dayton, Ohio and Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas.  They include papers from his presidency of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1929-1931.    The papers are divided into three (3) series:

 SERIES A. CORRESPONDENCE AND PROJECT FILES consists of two boxes, arranged alphabetically by name (1929-1931).  These primarily relate to his presidency of the CCAR.  Notable correspondents include: Cyrus Adler, Joseph L. Baron, Salo Baron, Henry Berkowitz, Jacob Billikopf, Ludwig Blau, Sol Bloom, Barnett Brickner, David Brown, Maurice Eisendrath, Harry Ettelson, William Fineshriber, Solomon Foster, Solomon Freehof, Nelson Glueck, James Heller, Ferdinand Isserman, George Alexander Kohut, Jacob Z. Lauterbach, Morris S. Lazaron, Jacob Rader Marcus, Isaac E. Marcuson, S. Felix Mendolsohn, Lily Montagu, Julian Morgenstern, Adolph Oko, David Phillipson, Joseph Rauch, Abba Hillel Silver, Felix Warburg, Stephen S. Wise, Louis Wolsey, George Zepin and Martin Zielonka. Reports and minutes are attached to pieces of correspondence.

 SERIES B. SERMONS AND WRITINGS consists of 4 ½ Hollinger boxes of sermons and publications (1900-1952). Individual sermons are arranged alphabetically by title. A partial listing of sermons from 1900-1913 are in the first folder. The series also contains 2 collections of sermons/sermon notes and unidentified sermons and sermon fragments. It also contains a copy of Lefkowitz's rabbinic thesis.

 SERIES C. NEARPRINT consists of ½ Hollinger box (1925-1955). It contains nearprint articles about Lefkowitz and photographs.


Box  Folder    Contents

1       1               A.  General.
        2               B. General.
        3               C. General.
        4               Central Conference of American Rabbis.
        5               D- E. General.
        6               F. General
        7               G. General.
        8               H. General.
        9               I-K. General.
        10              L. General.

2       1               Mad- Marc.
        2               Marg - Mo.
        3               N. General.
        4               O - P. General.
        5               R. General.
        6               S. General.
        7               T - V. General.
        8               W. General.
        9               World Union for Progressive Judaism. 1929-1931. 
        10              Z. General.     


3       1               Articles. 
        2               Sermon Lists. 1907 - 1913.
        3               Sermons.  A - Ae.
        4               Sermons. Af - Am.
        5               Sermons. An - Az.
        6               Sermons. B. General.
        7               Sermons. C- Ch. 
        8               Sermons. Ci- Cz.
        9               Sermons. D. General.
        10              Sermons. Dedication Sermons.

4       1               Sermons. E. General.
        2               Sermons. F. General.
        3               Sermons. G. General.
        4               Sermons. H. General.
        5               Sermons. I. General.
        6               Installation Sermons.
        7               Sermons. J. General.
        8               Sermons. K. General.
        9               Sermons. L. General.

5       1               Sermons. Ma-Mn.
        2               Sermons. Mo - Mz.
        3               Sermons. N. General.
        4               Sermons. O. General.
        5               Sermons. P - Pl.
        6               Sermons. Pm- Q.
        7               Sermons. R.
6       1               Sermons. S - Sn.
        2               Sermons. So.
        3               Sermons. Sp- Sz.
        4               Sermons. T.
        5               Sermons. U.
        6               Sermons. V.
        7               Sermons. W - Wg.
        8               Sermons. Wh.
        9               Sermons. Wi - Wz.
        10              Sermons. X - Z. General.

7       1               Unidentified Sermons. 
        2               Sermon Fragments.
        3               Manuscript Compilation of Sermons. 1915-1948.
        4               "Place of the Zohar in Jewish Mysticism." Rabbinic thesis.


7       5               Nearprint. 1929 - 1955.
        6               Photos. 1940; n.d.SERIES A. RABBINIC ACTIVITIES. 1942-1988.
Copyright © 2000 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives