Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing




A Finding Aid to the

Eugene Mihaly Papers 

Manuscript Collection No. 739

1954-1993. 3.2 Linear ft.


The Eugene Mihaly Papers were donated by Los Angeles campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish institute of Religion in February 2004. Property rights are assigned to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by Eugene Mihaly are held by the Mihaly 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.


Eugene Mihaly was born the son of Hillel and Ida Judith Kahn Mihaly in Hungary in 1918. Hillel Mihaly served as an Orthodox rabbi in Baltimore, where Eugene attended the New Israel Yeshivah. Later, he matriculated at Yeshiva University in New York, and was awarded his B.A. magna cum laude in 1940. Like his father, he was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi. After serving two Orthodox congregations, Mihaly made the decision to switch to Reform Judaism. His ordination in that denomination took place at Hebrew Union College in 1949, where he additionally earned a Ph.D. in 1952.

In 1945, he married Cecile Bramer, with whom he had two sons, Eugene and Marc.

Dr. Mihaly’s training as an Orthodox rabbi led to his familiarity with Talmud. A reputation for expertise in halakha (Jewish law) resulted in his opinions in such matters being eagerly sought, sometimes in the form of Responsa. These position papers were intended to draw responses from others. The almost-musical “call and response,” or give-and-take, of these papers, some of which are contained in this collection, makes for a very interesting written “conversation.”

Dr. Mihaly was likewise highly regarded for his command of the English language, and for his facility in the use of the written word. Congratulatory notes from colleagues and friends help the researcher understand the admiration felt for this man. In fact, whether in his role as a lecturer, sermonizer, author, or rabbi, Mihaly could be confident that his audience/readers wanted to know what he thought.

He taught at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati for many years, either as Deutsch professor of Jewish jurisprudence and social justice, or as professor of Jewish rabbinic literature and homiletics. Beginning in 1976, he served as executive dean and vice president for academic affairs. After retirement, a former student of his, Peretz Wolf-Prusan, visited often in the hope of learning more from him. Wolf-Prusan is quoted as saying “ … He was thoroughly involved in modern philosophy and thought, and completely conversant in classic Jewish texts, so that when you learn with someone like this, he was your tour guide to the complexity of Western thought and the incredible depths of Jewish philosophy.”

Eugene Mihaly died on June 7, 2002, at the age of 83.


The EUGENE MIHALY PAPERS consist of sermons, articles, speeches, lectures, Responsa, and class material. They are divided into seven small series. Papers are arranged alphabetically within a series, with the exceptions of Box 5, folders 8 and 9, which are arranged chronologically. Class Materials are arranged largely as found. Occasional correspondence having to do with the matter at hand can be found in the folders.

SERIES A. Class Materials
SERIES B. Holidays/Rituals
SERIES C. Miscellaneous Writings by Others
SERIES D. Personal file: Writings of Israel Bettan.
SERIES E. Responsa
SERIES F. Sermons
SERIES G. Subject Writings

SERIES A. Class Materials. Dr. Mihaly taught Jewish jurisprudence, Jewish rabbinic literature (Midrash), and homiletics. His meticulous, thorough approach and the extent of his knowledge are revealed in these materials.

SERIES B. Holidays/Rituals. This series includes services for Brit Milah, Conversion, Passover, the High Holidays, Selichot, and weddings.

SERIES C. Miscellaneous Writings by Others. By Joseph Heineman, Christopher Hitchens, Michael Meyer, and Richard Sarason.

SERIES D. Personal file: Writings of Israel Bettan. Bettan was Mihaly’s teacher, and these are Bettan’s own copies of some of his own writings, given to Mihaly. Plainly, Mihaly held him in high esteem.

SERIES E. Responsa. Written about a cross-section of religious issues, with an emphasis on marriage. The most complete collection of documents bears on a humanistic congregation’s consideration of application for membership in the UAHC (URJ).

SERIES F. Sermons. This series includes what could be called “generic” sermons, e.g., an anniversary sermon, a children’s sermon, a consecration sermon, a dedication sermon, etc.

SERIES G. Subject Writings. While much of this series has to do with religious matters, the most interesting title in the series must surely be “Sexual Harassment, Decon-struction, and Quantum Physics.” A number of papers presented to the Literary Club of Cincinnati are included in this series.



1	1	Midrash 9 – Ethical Literature.  Early Talmudic Writings.  1994.
	2	Midrash 9 (formerly 7) – Ethical Literature. 1993 – Session 2.
	3	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  Moses Chaim Luzzatto.1993.
	4	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  Bahiya ben Paquda.  1991.
	5	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  Israel Meir Hacohen, aka Chofetz Chaim.
	6	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  Yisrael ben Yosef, aka Al-Nakava.

2	1	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  Israel Salanter.
	2	Midrash 7 – Ethical Literature.  1988.
	3	Colloquium.  Pittsburgh Platform.  1991.
	4	Senior Homiletics Practicum.  1991 and 1993.
	5	Hebrew Scripture through Jewish Eyes.  1993.
	6	Hebrew Scripture through Christian Eyes.
	7	Midrash - Ethical Literature.  Reform – 19th and 20th Century 
	8	Midrash – Ethical Literature.  Ezra Melamed, Israeli Talmud scholar.
	9	Midrash – Ethical Literature.  32 principles of Rabbi Ishmael. 

3	1	Liturgy E-22.  Meal blessings.  1970.
	2	Liturgy E-22.  Meal blessings.  1970.
	3	Midrash E-14.  1966.
	4	Teachings of the Ancient Rabbis.  Incomplete.
	5	Shared Values Project.  Stanford University.  1998.


4	1	Brit Milah.
	2	Conversion.  Hebrew and English.
	3	Eulogies.
	4	Eulogies.
	5	Haggadah.  Hebrew and English.
	6	Rosh Hashanah.
	7	Selichot.  Hebrew and English.
	8	Wedding Ceremonies.
	9	Yom Kippur.

           Arrangement:  Alphabetical by author.

	10	“Reform Judaism: A Centenary Perspective.”  CCAR.
	11	“Structure and Division of Genesis Rabbah.”  By Joseph Heineman
	12	“On Not Knowing the Half of It: My Jewish Self.”  By Christopher Hitchens.
	13	“German-Jewish Thinkers Reflect on the Future of the Jewish Religion.”  By Michael Meyer.
	14	“Ismar Schorsch, the Historian.”  By Michael Meyer.
	15	“Liberal Judaism in Nazi Germany.”  By Michael Meyer.
	16	“Rabbi Dr. Baeck’s  Legacy to Progressive Judaism.”  By Michael Meyer.
	17	“Interpretation of Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Judaism.”  By Richard S. Sarason.

           Arrangement:  Alphabetical by title.

	18	A-R.  Includes Bettan’s index.
		Awaking the Dawn.
		Building Altars for Tomorrow.
		Conventional Faith and Personal Conviction
		Dedication of Sefer Torah.
		Dedication Sermon.
		Early Reform in Contemporaneous Responses.
		The Function of the Prayer Book.
		The Glory of Men and Nations.
		Has God Been Forsaken?
		The Hebrew Union College and Liberal Thought
		Israel and the Synagog
		The Jew.
		The Jewish Interpreter.
		A Layman’s Jewish Library.
		Post-Biblical Judaism.
		I. Its Biblical Foundation – The Midrash.
		II. Its Spiritual Note.
		IV. Its Conception of Israel’s Place in the World.
		V. Its Role in the Survival of the Jew.

		A Program for Action.
		The Rabbi as Scholar.
		The Rabbi of Richmond.
		The Residue.  A Sermon for Sh’Mini Atzereth.
		The Response to Tragedy.
		Review of “Al-Hidaja ‘Ila Faraid Al-Qulub des Bachja …”
		The Right to Differ and be Different.
		The Rise of Rabbinic Literature.
		The Rock of the Past.

5	1	S-W.  Includes Bettan’s index.
		Salvation by Organization.
		The Sanctuary of Life.
		Scriptural Texts as Used by the Older Jewish Preachers.
		The Solitary Soul.
		Soul and Body.
		The Spirit of the Founder. (incomplete)
		The Theological School – A Contrast.
		This Thirsting World.
		Thirty-Second Conference of American Rabbis.
		To Thine Own Self Be True.
		Training for Tolerance.
		The Truth Seeker: His Temper and Method
		Our Unique Character and Culture
		West Virginia School Code Commission
		What Makes Me a Jew?
		Worshipping the Net
	2	Untitled Writings.
	3	Classroom Lecture Notes.  Homiletics.

	4	CCAR Responsum.  Gentile Participation in Synagogue Ritual
	5	Response to Responsum.  The Jewish Status of Apostates and of Jewish Children Raised in a Christian 		

	6	Response to Responsum.  Mixed Marriage.
	7	Responsum on Homosexuality.
	8	Responsum on Qualifications for UAHC Membership/Beth Adam.
	9	Responsum on Qualifications for UAHC Membership/Beth Adam.
	10	Responsum on Jewish marriage.
	11	Responsum on Marriage on the Sabbath.

	   Arrangement:  Alphabetical by title.

6	1	The American Jew in Post-War Days.
	2	Anniversary sermon.
	3	The Basic Virtues of the Fathers.
	4	Be Yourself.  A Children’s Sermon.
	5	Congregation Brith Shalom.
	6	Benediction, Founders’ Day.
	7	Centennial sermon.
	8	The Challenge of Change.
	9	The Consecration of a Rabbi.
	10	Dedication sermon:  Wholeness of Life.
	11	Greetings from CCAR.
	12	Installation sermon.
	13	Religion and Psychiatry.
	14	Repentance and Self-Renewal.
	15	The Synagogue and Jewish Worship.
	16	Teaching Our Children.
	17	The Uniqueness of Religion.
	18	Where Do We Stand?

	   Arrangement:  Alphabetical by title.  1955-1993.

	19	The Architect as Liturgist.  April 1974.
	20	Aspects of Metaphor.  Jan. 10, 1983.
	21	Assimilation and Self-Realization.
	22	The Authentic Vocation of the Jew.  March 14, 1990.
	23	Bread as a Symbol.  1970.
	24	College Colloquium.  Hebrew and English.  Oct. 25, 1991.

7	1	The Edge of a Remark.  Nov. 7, 1988.
	2	A Guide for Writers of Reform Liturgy.
	3	Halacha – Discipline and Reform Judaism.  June 18, 1975.
	4	Halakha is Absolute and Passe.  1980.
	5	Hebrew Union College.  An Anniversary Address. 
	6	Home for the Jewish Aged.  Nov. 12, 1961.
	7	The Horns of the Altar.
	8	In the Cleft of the Rock.  1965.
	9	Isaac Abravanel on the Principles of Faith.  1955.
	10	It’s All in the Name.  Article in Keeping Posted, Oct. 1972.
	11	Jewish Prayer and Synagogue Architecture.  1958.
	12	Jewish Unity.
	13	Let Us Make Man: Building Mounds Upon Mounds on Every Jot.
	14	April 22, 1991.
	15	Literary Club.  Annual Dinner.  1990.
	16	Love is a Many-Splendored Vexation.
	17	The Making of an American Judaism.
	18	Mixed Marriage, 1983-1984, CCAR Report of the Special Committee on.  Hebrew and English.
	19	Moses  Maimonides, Author and Teacher for the Ages.  Oct. 1955.
	20	Moses  Maimonides.  Reform Judaism and Halacha: The Contemporary Relevance of the Mishneh Torah of 		
		Maimonides.  1954.
	21	One Who Commits Suicide Has No Share in the World to Come.  English and Hebrew.
	22	Our Moorings and Our Reach.  March 13, 1965.
	23	The Palm Tree.
	24	Petrie, Beverly and Bruce.  Fortieth Wedding Anniversary Poem.
	25	Prayer at the Annual Dinner of the Literary Club.  Oct. 26, 1992.
	26	Prayers.
	27	Rabbinic Judaism and the Pursuit of Excellence.  Nov. 19, 1963.
	28	The Rage of American Jewish Organizations.  (Israel Law of Return)
	29	Religious Experience in Judaism.  July 7, 1957.

8	1	Sayings of the Fathers.
	2	Schindler, Alexander – Biennial.  Oct. 29, 1991.  English and Hebrew.
	3	The Schlemiel as American Literary Hero.  June 5, 1973.
	4	Seasons Greetings to an American Jew.  Dec. 29, 1961.
	5	Sexual Harassment, Deconstruction, and Quantum Physics.  Nov. 25, 1991.
	6	Speeches.
	7	Speeches.
	8	Squaring the Circle.  May 12, 1980.
	9	To Be and Not to Be.  March 10, 1986.
	10	The Union and its Platform.
	11	Unity Beyond Diversity: The Emerging American Identity.  Oct. 18, 1993.
	12	What’s Happening to Reform Judaism?
	13	Who is a Jew?  Matrilineal/Patrilineal Status.
Copyright © 2007 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives