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Rabbi Samuel Geffen Papers

Identifier: P-898

Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Rabbi Samuel Geffen document his professional career as the rabbi of the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West in Queens. Series I: Professional Life contains those records directly corresponding to the Jewish Center. This includes correspondence, notes from teaching Hebrew school, bulletins, books of remembrance, records from religious ceremonies such as funerals and weddings, as well as information about community programs such as Boy Scouts and the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West's baseball team. Series II: Subject Files contains resources collected or received by Rabbi Geffen in his work as a religious leader and educator. These files are arranged alphabetically by subject. Series III: Organization Files is comprised of correspondence, circulars, and newsletters from organizations and religious institutions with whom Rabbi Geffen was associated. The majority of organizations included focus on Judaism and the rabbinical profession. Some of the more fully represented organizations include the United Synagogue of America, the Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the National Jewish Welfare Board, and the Hebrew Union College. Series IV: Publications contains daily publications, such as newspapers, serial publications, articles, and one book, Modern Hebrew by Harry Blumberg and Mordecai H. Lewittes. The publications, both national and local, are almost entirely related to Judaism and numerous periodicals are in Hebrew text.


  • 1925-1993
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1975

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 Samuel Geffen, born Febuary 17, 1907 in New York, NY, was the rabbi for the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West for many years. Prior to his ordination in 1942, Geffen was a concert violinist and lawyer. He served most his career at the Jewish Center of Forest Hills, from 1948 until his retirement in 1993. Rabbi Geffen was married to Ruth Lenore Rosenfeld, with whom he had one son, Peter Geffen. During his time at Forest Hills West, Rabbi Geffen taught for many years at the Hebrew school in addition to his role as a congregational and spiritual leader. Rabbi Geffen died March 15, 2002 in New York, NY.


44 Manuscript Boxes (22.5 linear feet)

Language of Materials





The Papers of Rabbi Samuel Geffen document his professional career as the rabbi of the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West in Queens. The collection is the result of Rabbi Geffen's work as a religious leader and educator at the Jewish Center and depicts the center's and Rabbi Geffen's role in the Jewish community there.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Peter Geffen.

Related Material

The American Jewish Historical Society has several books by and about Rabbi Tobias Geffen, Rabbi Samuel Geffen's father, as well as the Papers of Tobias Geffen, P-516. In addition, many other members of the extended Geffen family are represented in the AJHS library collection.

Guide to the Rabbi Samuel Geffen Papers, 1925-1993
Processed by Kaitlyn Medley as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.
© 2010.
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 GeffenRSH.xml

Revision Statements

  • November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States