TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 551
Keneseth Israel was organized in March 1847, as the fourth Orthodox synagogue of Philadelphia. They rented a hall, purchased a cemetery and hired the services of Rev. B.H. Gotthelf who acted as rabbi, cantor and congregational secretary.
Keneseth Israel moved towards reform early in its existence. The congregation introduced the Hamburg Reform Prayer Book in the early 1850s and disbanded the custom of having members read from the Torah. An early rabbi, David Einhorn, grew impatient with Isaac Mayer Wise for Wise's slow pace of reform. The next rabbi, Dr. Samuel Hirsch, abolished the wearing of hats. Keneseth Israel continued as a progressive congregation and a significant member of the Reform movement. The congregation also has a strong commitment to religious education, going back to the founding of their religious school in 1849.
Senior rabbis at the congregation have included: Solomon Deutsch (1857-1860), David Einhorn (1861-1866), Samuel Hirsch (1866-1886), Joseph Krauskopf (1887-1823), William Fineshriber (1923-1949), Bertram Korn (1949-1979), Simeon J. Maslin (1979-1997), Bradley Bleefeld (1997-2000) and Lance J. Sussman (2001- ).
Congregation Keneseth Israel, formed in 1847, has served as a prominent Reform congregation from early in its history. The records of this collection focus on its early years, and consist of board minutes and biographical information about early members of the congregation between 1847 and 1941. Collection material consists of Photostat copies.
The records are organized into three series as follows:
Terms of Access
The collection is open for use; no restrictions apply.
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.
Beifield, Martin. "The Early Years of Joseph Krauskopf at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel." SC-808.
Einhorn, David. MS-155.
Fineshriber, William. MS-144.
Gotthelf, Bernhard. MS-248.
Korn, Bertram. MS-99.
Krauskopf, Joseph. MS-183.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congregation Keneseth Israel. Inventory to the Archives. Small Collections.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congregation Keneseth Israel. Nearprint Geography.
Minutes (1847-1944) from Congregation Keneseth Israel have been microfilmed (MF-90; MF-3617) and are available via interlibrary loan.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (Elkins Park, Pa.) Records and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-551. Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (Elkins Park, Pa.) Records. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The records were received in various installments, a portion of which were donated by the Archives Committee of Keneseth Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in May 1995.
Processed by Melinda McMartin, June, 2001.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA's online catalog.
Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel (Elkins Park, Pa.)
Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Elkins Park
Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Synagogues -- Organization and administration
Synagogues -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Genres and Forms