Bernhard Felsenthal papers
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains correspondence in English, German, Hebrew and French between Felsenthal and various key players in Reform Jewish and Zionist organizations. Correspondence topics include: the founding of the American Jewish Historical Society: the Jewish Publication Society; B'nai B'rith; the legal position of Jews in England and the United States with particular reference to the Naturalization Acts; the religious and social life and the history of Jews in Russia and Poland; Bible readings in public schools; the study of Jesus in Jewish Sabbath Schools; anti-slavery issues in the Fremont Campaign in 1856; and other correspondence pertaining to his numerous activities.
The major correspondents, in number of items, are Cyrus Adler, Felix Adler, Julius Bien, Isidor Bush, Gotthard Deutsch, David Einhorn, Abraham Geiger, Henry Gersoni, Gustav Gottheil, Richard James Horatio Gottheil, Kaufmann Kohler, George Alexander Kohut, Maurice Mayer, Moses Mielziner, Joshua Heschel Schorr, David Stern, Benjamin Szold, Henrietta Szold, and Julius Rosenthal. Included in the collection are letters to his daughters, Emma and Julia Felsenthal.
A typed index of correspondents is included with collection.
- undated, 1844-1922
- Felsenthal, Bernhard, 1822-1908 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English, Hebrew, German, and French.
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.
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Felsenthal was a German-American rabbi and author born January 2, 1822 in Münchweiler, Germany. His education included the Polytechnic High School in Munich and the Teachers' Seminary at Kaiserslautern. He emigrated to America in 1854 and settled in Madison, Indiana, where he remained for three years as rabbi and teacher. In 1858 he accepted employment in the banking-house of Greenebaum Brothers in Chicago. In the same year the Jüdische Reformverein was founded, with Felsenthal as its secretary. In 1859 he published a pamphlet entitled "Kol Kore Bamidbar: Ueber Jüdische Reform," which attracted attention both in America and abroad.
The Reformverein evolved into the Sinai Congregation, and in June 1861, Felsenthal became its first rabbi. After officiating for three years, he took charge of Zion Congregation in West Chicago. Felsenthal served until 1887, when he was relieved from active duty and pensioned as rabbi emeritus. He has holds degrees from both Chicago University and Hebrew Union College.
1 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes + 1 oversized folder)
This Collection consists primarily of English, German, Hebrew, and French language correspondence concerning Reform Judaism, Zionism; the founding of the American Jewish Historical Society; the Jewish Publication Society; B'nai B'rith; the legal position of Jews in England and the United States with particular reference to the Naturalization Acts; the religious and social life and the history of Jews in Russia and Poland; Bible readings in public schools; the study of Jesus in Jewish Sabbath Schools; anti-slavery issues in the Fremont Campaign in 1856; and other correspondence pertaining to his numerous activities.
This collection is intellectually organized into two series.
Located in AJHS New York, NY
Gift of Bernhard Felsenthal's daughters: Emma Felsenthal, 1933-35, and Julia Felsenthal, 1949
- Adler, Cyrus, 1863-1940
- Adler, Felix, 1851-1933
- American Jewish Alliance
- American Jewish Historical Society
- B'nai B'rith
- Bien, Julius, 1826-1909
- Bush, Isidor, 1822-1898
- Chicago (Ill.)
- Cincinnati (Ohio)
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Columbus, Christopher
- Deutsch, Gotthard, 1859-1921
- Einhorn, David, 1809-1879
- Ephemera (general object genre)
- Felsenthal, Bernhard, 1822-1908
- Free Religious Association of United States
- Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890
- Geiger, Abraham, 1810-1874
- Gersoni, Henry, 1844-1897
- Gottheil, Gustav, 1827-1903
- Gottheil, Richard J. H. (Richard James Horatio), 1862-1936
- Great Britain
- Jewish Publication Society
- Jewish Theological Seminary of America
- Jewish question
- Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity
- Kohler, Kaufmann, 1843-1926
- Kohut, George Alexander, 1874-1933
- Liturgy and ritual—Reform
- Mayer, Maurice
- Mielziner, M. (Moses), 1828-1903
- Reform Judaism
- Reform Judaism -- United States
- Romania--Emigration and immigration
- Rosenthal, Julius
- Russia--Emigration and immigration
- Russian Refugee Organization (Ill.)
- Schorr, Osias
- Slavery -- United States
- Stern, David, -1885
- Szold, Benjamin, 1829-1902
- Szold, Henrietta, 1860-1945
- United States
- Guide to the Bernhard Felsenthal papers, undated, 1844-1922 P-21
- Finding aid created by marc2ead_ajhs.xsl
- © 2009
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- Language of description
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- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- 2016-09-22: PDF box list converted to dsc. Finding aid encoding revised by Janine Veazue.
- 2016-09-22: Box 2 folder titles changed from "Miscellaneous correspondence" to "Correspondence" by Tanya Elder.
- 2017-12-05: dao links added by Leanora Lange.
- March, June 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup