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Joshua O. Haberman Collection

Identifier: AR 25870

Scope and Contents

The Joshua O. Haberman Collection holds papers related to the professional life and scholarship of Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman (1919-2017). The collection focuses on Rabbi Haberman’s distinguished career as a leader in Jewish faith and as a researcher of theological philosophies. His papers include correspondence, handwritten notes and notebooks, philosophical research, conference lectures, and drafts of his later-published materials.

The collection is arranged in three series: I. Professional; II. Research; and III. Writings. The first series holds materials relating to the rabbinical work performed by Rabbi Haberman. Much of Series I contains materials prepared by Rabbi Haberman to be used at Passover Seders. They include song sheets, short prayers, reflection questions, Seder activities for children, and various Haggadot. Rabbi Haberman’s belief that faith should be an open and wholesome experience is evidenced through the materials from his professional life. The second series demonstrates Rabbi Haberman’s dedication to theological study. Included are many photocopied or printed articles and corresponding research notes about the writings of Moses Maimonides, S.L. Steinheim, and Franz Rosenzweig. The extensive research of Series II precedes Rabbi Haberman’s own writings that are found in the third series. Series III includes drafts of later-published articles and conference lectures that Rabbi Haberman shared with a larger network of theological scholars and members of the Jewish faith.


  • Creation: undated, 1855-2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1969-1995


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access information

Visit the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical / Historical

Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman was born in Vienna, Austria in 1919, to Berta Berger and Isser Alter Haberman. He attended the University of Vienna and was enrolled in Vienna’s Jewish Rabbinical Seminary when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938. Rabbi Haberman escaped Austria soon after the Anschluss by accepting an invitation offered to him to continue his rabbinical studies at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio in July 1938. He completed his studies and received ordination from Hebrew Union College in 1945. He received a Doctor of Hebrew Letters (DHL) degree in 1966 and a Doctor of Divinity (DD) degree in 1970.

Rabbi Haberman served four Reform congregations during a rabbinical career that spanned 72 years, serving in Mobile, Alabama; Buffalo, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C. In 1969, he was elected Senior Rabbi of the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C. He was active in interfaith dialogue with Christians and Muslims, and preached at the White House and at Congress on many occasions. In 1983, he created the Foundation for Jewish Studies. His scholarship and research led him to author several publications, including Philosopher of Revelation: The Life and Thought of S.L. Steinheim (University of Nebraska Press, 1989). Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman died on September 24, 2017.


0.75 Linear Feet

2 Folders (2 oversized folders in shared oversize box)


This collection records the professional life and scholarship of Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman (1919-2017). A refugee who escaped Austria after the Nazi Anschluss in 1938, Rabbi Haberman had a distinguished career as both a champion of theological education and spiritual leader throughout the United States. Rabbi Haberman’s life work is well-documented through the items in this collection that include correspondence, handwritten notes and notebooks, philosophical research, conference lectures, and drafts of his later-published materials.


This collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Professional, undated, 1974-2012
  2. Research, undated, 1855-1857, 1921-1991
  3. Writings, undated, 1973-1991

Related Materials

Rabbi Haberman’s speech titled, “Ich stamme aus Wien, 1937-1993,” delivered at the Vienna City Hall in November 1993 is available in the LBI Memoir Collection, ME 932.

The LBI Library holds two publications by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman: S.L. Steinheim’s Critique of Messianism (1993) and Philosopher of Revelation: The Life and Thoughts of S.L. Steinbeim (1990).

Separated Materials

An off-print titled “Franz Rosenzweig’s Doctrine of Revelation,” by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman and reprinted from Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 1969 (Vol. 18, No. 3) has been removed to the LBI Library.

Processing Information

During processing, the collection was topically arranged into three series. Materials were unfolded and housed in acid-free archival folders. Duplicates were removed from the archival collection. Documents with adhesive notes were copied onto acid-free paper. The adhesive notes were carefully removed from the original documents and the copies were placed behind the originals. All metal fasteners were removed and replaced with a folded sheet of acid-free paper to hold the intended papers together. Published articles were removed from the archival collection, with copies of the title pages retained in the appropriate series. Select publications and reproductions were not removed to the LBI Library and instead have been left in the collection because they have been heavily annotated by Rabbi Haberman.

Guide to the Papers of Joshua O. Haberman
Processed by Victoria Fernandez and Julia Pohlmann
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States