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Bernard C. Ehrenreich Papers

Identifier: P-26

Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Rabbi Bernard C. Ehrenreich contains documents and paraphernalia spanning approximately seven decades.

The collection is valuable to those researching Zionism; Progressivism; boys' camps; Montgomery, Alabama's Jewish community; Christian-Jewish relations in the South; soldiers' correspondence from World War I and World War II; National Jewish Welfare Board; National American Woman Suffrage Association; Intercollegiate Menorah Association; Federation of American Zionists; Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity; and postcards displaying various Jewish images.

Material includes correspondence, memoranda, minutes, ledgers, newspaper clippings, speeches, photographs, postcards, scrapbooks, telegrams, pamphlets, and other publications and handwritten notes. Of special interest is the scrapbooks documenting Ehrenreich's career, from 1898-1952 that contains newspaper clippings, his published articles and addresses, correspondence, programs, telegrams, memorabilia, and photographs (Box 1, Folders 1 and 2; see also Box 2, Folder 5 and Box 3, Folder 1, 3 and 5 for biographical information). Other unique items include correspondence from Jewish soldiers (World War I: Box 3, Folders 14-15; Box 4, Folders 1-2 and World War II: Box 3, Folder 4); letters from parents and campers at Camp Kawaga (Box 1, Folder 4); Irma Ehrenreich's women's suffragette movement material (Box 3, Folder 2), documents pertaining to Jewish life in Montgomery, Alabama (Box 1, Folders 1 and 2; Box 2, Folder 6 and 12); a photograph of World War I soldiers at a Seder in Montgomery, Alabama (Box 1, Folder 5); and Ehrenreich's collection of postcards portraying Jewish subjects (Box 3, Folders 6-13).

The majority of the collection is in English. The postcard collection contains some German (Box 3, Folders 6-7) as well as French and Yiddish (Box 3, Folder 12). In addition, there is a Yiddish newspaper clipping (Box 1, Scrapbook), an extract of German letter from the Actions Comite in the Federation of American Zionists (Box 2, Folder 7), and a Latin college diploma (Oversized Folder).


  • Creation: undated, 1871-1971

Language of Materials

The majority of the collection is in English, with some materials in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and French.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Rabbi Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich


A rabbi and scholar, Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich was born in Kis Szeben, Hungary on June 11, 1876 to an orthodox family. At the age of three, Bernard immigrated to the United States with his family.

Educated as a child in the public school system, Ehrenreich had a flair for learning and a desire to continue his education. In 1900, he received both a bachelor's degree in philosophy from New York University as well as a rabbinical degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. Known as an organizer throughout his years as a young scholar, Ehrenreich helped found the first Jewish college fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau (Zion Bemispat Tipadeh) in 1898. The fraternity served as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information and was committed to Zionist causes.

His first pulpit, in 1900, was in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Congregation Beth Israel. Ehrenreich stayed there a year before moving on to Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Pennsylvania. He continued serving his congregations while furthering his education at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1902, he married Irma Bock, and together they had two children, Louis Sigmund and Rosemarie.

In 1906 Rabbi Ehrenreich took the pulpit of Congregation Kahl Montgomery in Montgomery, AL. Zionism and progressivism pervaded his thoughts and he performed his work with a keen interest and optimism.

Already known for his ability to bring together people, Rabbi Ehrenreich led the community in a wide range of activities. Among the organizations he was involved in were the Federation of American Zionists, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, Graduate Menorah Society and the American Jewish Congress.

Although his civic duty and link to the community were prevalent in his many activities, he never relinquished his commitment to the individual. His interaction with the soldiers of Camp Sheridan was a cornerstone in his life. The dedication and love that he gave to hundreds of boys in the camp is readily seen in the correspondence contained within the collection. These boys also helped Ehrenreich realize a much earlier dream, and he started Camp Kawaga in Wisconsin. This camp, started in 1915, became a summer camp for boys to enrich their lives and awaken their minds.

Rabbi Ehrenreich spent his life working toward the betterment of others. He strived for the ability to join people together and acknowledged the importance of the individual. Echoing throughout his sermons and teachings are messages of Zionism and reform. The people that Ehrenreich influenced is incalculable and when he died on March 11, 1955, he died a successful man having accomplished on one lifetime what many only dream.


Data was compiled from archival documents in the Papers of Rabbi Bernard C. Ehrenreich; Who's Who in American Jewry (1980); Jews of the South by S. Proctor, L. Schmier and M. Stern (pp. 45-63).

<emph render="bold">CHRONOLOGY</emph>

June 11, 1876
Born in Kis Szeben, Hungary, son of Henry Reuben and Hannah Ehrenreich
Immigrated to the United States
Founded Zeta Beta Tau (American Jewish Fraternal Organization)
Received a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from New York University
Received a Rabbinical degree from Jewish Theological Seminary
Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, Atlantic City, NJ
Rabbi of Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Philadelphia, PA
Married Irma Bock
Louis Sigmund (son) is born
Rosemarie (daughter) is born
Rabbi of Congregation Kahl Montgomery, Montgomery, AL
Camp Kawaga opens
Director of Camp Kawaga
Elected to the American Jewish Congress
March 11, 1955

Additional Offices/Honors/Organizations

Central Conference of American Rabbis. Member.

Federation of American Zionist Federation. Recording Secretary.

Graduate Menorah Society. Founder.

International Order of B'nai B'rith. Member.

Israeli Bond Drive, Montgomery, Alabama. Chair.

Jewish Chautauqua Society. Member.

Jewish Welfare Board, Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, AL. Welfare Worker (World War I).

Masons. Member.

Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Vice-Chair.

Romanian Anti-Semitism. Official Representative protesting at a convocation.


1.75 Linear Feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized folder.)


The Papers of Bernard Calonius Ehrenreich, a Rabbi and civic leader in Montgomery, Alabama, document his personal and professional life over seven decades, and highlights his involvment in a broad range of organizations and activities. The collection is valuable to those researching topics such as Zionism; Progressivism; boys' camps; Montgomery, Alabama's Jewish community; Christian-Jewish relations in the South; and soldiers' correspondence from World War I and World War II. In addition, Ehrenreich's involvment in organizations such as the National Jewish Welfare Board; National American Woman Suffrage Association; Intercollegiate Menorah Association; Federation of American Zionists; and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity are documented within the collection as well as postcards displaying various Jewish images.


The collection is divided into four boxes. Folders in each box are separated according to subject matter.


The Papers of Bernard Ehrenreich were donated to the Society by his wife, Irma Bock Ehrenreich (date unknown) and his daughter, Rosemary E. Krensky (1967.004).

Related Material

Related materials can be found in the Papers of the Ehrenreich Family, P-96 and in the Papers of the Gottheil Family, P-49.

Guide to the Papers of Bernard C. Ehrenreich (1876-1955) undated, 1871-1971 *P-26
Processed by Deborah Friedman
© 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Ehrenreich.xml

Revision Statements

  • May 2005.: Finding aid was updated and reconverted in order to match other online finding aids by Dianne Ritchey Oummia.
  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
  • March, June 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States