Access and Provenance

Institutional Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

Subject Tracings

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. 


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

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.


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
               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  Folder         Contents

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


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


4    1         Cemetery Lot Ledger                     1909-1957  


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