Emil Schorsch JTS Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Emil Schorsch Collections documents professional activities of Emil Schorsch, a Rabbi and a communal leader, after his emigration from Germany in 1939.
The collection includes brochures, booklets, clippings, correspondence, notes, immigration documents, printed materials, and writings.
At the heart of the collections lies a large number of Emil Schorsch’s sermons and other homilies.
Also included here are his articles and lectures that Emil Schorsch gave at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York during the 1960s.
Being a rabbi, Emil Schorsch officiated many special events such as Bar and Bas Mitzvahs, weddings and memorials services. Copies of his speeches at these special events are collected here as well.
Other documents related to his rabbinical work include materials pertaining to congregation Mercy and Truth in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. These materials consists of rabbinical records such as confirmation, conversion, and divorce records, correspondence with members of the congregation, including those serving in the United States Army, professional correspondence, printed materials, and materials regarding history of the Jewish community of Pottstown.
In addition to materials pertaining to Emil Schorsch’s professional activities, there is a small amount of personal correspondence and immigration documents.
- Schorsch, Ismar (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English with some German and Hebrew.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
Emil Schorsch was a rabbi in both Germany and, later, the United States. Throughout his rabbinical career he was a strong proponent of Conservative Judaism.
He was born in Hüngheim (Baden) in 1899. After attending a teachers' seminar in Esslingen he began his studies at the Jüdisch-Theologisches Seminar in Breslau in 1923. In 1926 he married Fanny Rothschild from Esslingen, in Württemberg. He graduated from the seminary in 1928. In 1927, a year before graduation, he accepted a position as Ortsrabbiner in Hanover, with the special responsibility of developing programming for Jewish youth. In 1931 he became president of the Zion-Loge Hanover, the local branch of the B'nai B'rith. He was also a member of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rabbiner-Verband.
In the summer of 1933 Emil Schorsch was sent by the Jewish community to Palestine to learn how to prepare Jewish youth for immigration from Germany. Upon his return to Germany he began to train Jews for immigration to Palestine, in addition to fulfilling his rabbinical duties in Hanover.
Among Emil Schorsch's accomplishments in Hanover were the organization of religious youth educational programs, having Hebrew recognized as compulsory for receiving a high school diploma (Abitur), and the establishment of a Lehrhaus that existed for ten years. In addition, Emil Schorsch established a Jugendheim (youth center) for the community. He also worked at cultivating both the choir and the library of the congregation.
During Kristallnacht in November 1938 the synagogue was destroyed. Emil Schorsch was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp for ten days along with other leading members of the Jewish community. He subsequently immigrated to England in December 1938, along with his wife, Fanny, and their two children, after receiving a permit from the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Rabbi Hertz. They moved to the United States in March 1940.
Emil Schorsch served as a rabbi in Pottstown, Pennsylvania from 1940 until 1964, as well as a military chaplain in the Pottstown area throughout the Second World War. In 1963, he returned to Germany and gave a speech at the opening of the new Hanover synagogue. He died in Vineland, New Jersey in 1982. His son, the historian Ismar Schorsch, served as the sixth Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and as the President of the Leo Baeck Institute.
By Michael Simonson from the Emil Schorsch Collection 1841-1999 at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York
10 Linear Feet
The Emil Schorsch Collections documents professional activities of Emil Schorsch, a Rabbi and a communal leader, after his emigration from Germany in 1939. The collection includes brochures, booklets, clippings, correspondence, notes, immigration documents, printed materials, and writings.
The collection is divided into four series:
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Congregation Hessed shel Emet (Pottstown, Pa.)
- Financial records
- Hannover (Germany)
- Jewish Theological Seminary of America
- Jewish sermons, American
- Jews -- Germany
- Jews -- United States -- History
- Manuscripts (documents)
- Official documents
- Pottstown (Pa.)
- Printed materials
- Schorsch, Emil, 1899-1982
- Valley Forge General Hospital
- Guide to the Emil Schorsch JTS Collection (1899-1982) 1928-1979 AR 25446
- Processed by Yakov Illich Sklar
- © 2012
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Made possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History"
- January 21, 2015 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.