Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Joseph L. Ginsberg Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 622

1939-1979 2.4 Linear ft.


The JOSEPH L. GINSBERG PAPERS were donated to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives by Ms. Jan Flapan of Chicago, Illinois in 1990. Property rights are assigned to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by Joseph L. Ginsberg are held by his heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by 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 JOSEPH L. GINSBERG PAPERS are open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


Joseph Lewis Ginsberg was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1911. He graduated from the University of Louisville in 1932 and was ordained as a rabbi at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1937.

From 1937-1940 Ginsberg was a graduate instructor at HUC. In 1940 he became Assistant Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas. During this time, from 1943 to 1946, Ginsberg served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army. In 1947 Ginsberg was elected Rabbi at Temple Anshai Emeth in Peoria, Illinois. He remained in Peoria until 1963 when he moved to Highland Park, Illinois to become Rabbi at the Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism. Ginsberg retired from this position in 1973 and was named Rabbi Emeritus.

After his retirement, Ginsberg was invited to fill the pulpit at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans during the illness of Rabbi Leo Bergman. After this, Ginsberg served as part-time Rabbi of Temple Adas Israel, Sag Harbor, Long Island from 1975 to 1982. He also served as Dean and faculty member for the School for Prospective Converts to Judaism for the Long Island Association of Reform Rabbis from 1976 to 1982.

Ginsberg was involved in numerous communal organizations and activities throughout his career. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In 1962 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Joseph L. Ginsberg died in 1990.


The JOSEPH L. GINSBERG PAPERS contain six Hollinger boxes (2.4 linear feet) of material, consisting almost entirely of sermons. The sermons cover the years 1939-1979 and are arranged as follows:
  • HIGH HOLIDAY SERMONS (1939-1979)
  • TOPICAL SERMONS (on Intermarriage, Passover, and Reform Judaism, n.d.) -
  • GENERALK SERMONS (arranged chronologically, 1946-1975)
  • PRAYERS (n.d.)
  • The collection also contains one file folder of correspondence pertaining to Rabbi Ginsberg's honorary Doctor of Divinity degree awarded by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1962.

    As much as possible, effort was made to retain the original order of the materials as created and maintained by Rabbi Ginsberg.


    Box       Folder         Contents
    1         1         High Holiday Sermons 1939-1944
              2         High Holiday Sermons 1948-1954
              3         High Holiday Sermons 1955-1959
              4         High Holiday Sermons 1960-1963
    2         1         High Holiday Sermons 1965-1969
              2         High Holiday Sermons 1970-1975
              3         High Holiday Sermons 1976-1979
              4         Sermons [Intermarriage] n.d.
              5         Sermons [Passover] n.d.
    3         1         Sermons [Reform Judaism] n.d.
              2         Sermons 1946-1948
              3         Sermons 1949-1950
              4         Sermons 1951-1952
    4         1         Sermons 1953-1955
              2         Sermons 1955-1957
              3         Sermons 1958-1959
              4         Sermons 1960-1962
    5         1         Sermons 1963-1965
              2         Sermons 1970-1975
              3         Sermons 1970-1975
    6         1         Sermons 1970-1975
              2         Sermons 1970-1975
              3         Prayers n.d.
              4         Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion [D.D. Degree] 1962