Yom Kippur in the NJWB Recordsby Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History
This post is part of the Holiday History Series. To view all posts in the series, click here.
Above image: Text on back of photograph reads, “Yom Kippur services at Great Lakes, Ill. I think 1942 or 1943. Rabbi Julius Mark was chaplain. Services held in drill hall, now Catholic chapel.” c/o American Jewish Historical Society.
I wrote my last post on sermons and bulletins specific to Rosh Hashanah. Now I will explore a few examples from Yom Kippur announcements. Like the previous examples, these again highlight events most concerning to American Jewish communities as well as the ways in which Jewish leaders connected such events to the Days of Awe. The materials come from records of the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB), housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections here at the Center for Jewish History.
The first example is an excerpt from a sermon delivered on Yom Kippur 1943 titled “The Jew and the Draft.” Doctor Rabbi A. Herbert Fedder of Laurelton Jewish Center begins his speech with a joke popular at the time: “What goes faster than a P-40? A Jew passing a draft board.” His sermon is devoted to debunking the myth that Jews avoid the draft in larger proportions than the rest of the American population, and arming Jews with facts that they can use to answer such a charge. After explaining common reasons Jews have been associated with avoiding the draft, Rabbi Fedder gives numerical evidence of Jewish involvement in the army at a proportion greater than that of other Americans. He calls for Jews to read, analyze, memorize and repeat the great contribution of the Jewish community to the American army. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)
Another example can be seen in a letter from Rabbi Manning Bleich addressed to the worshippers of Ohev Sholom Synagogue in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Before the penitential period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1945, Rabbi Bleich wrote that while arms have been laid down, the community should approach the Days of Awe with no less meaningful prayer than in previous years. True penitence can help return the world to peace and alleviate suffering of Jews everywhere. He dedicated his Slichot service that year (a service of prayers for forgiveness said before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) to Lieutenant Louis Krentzman, the first member of his congregation to fall “for G-d and Country.” He called for the pews to be filled in order to honor this brave soldier’s memory. By dedicating the Slichot service to a fallen member of his congregation, Rabbi Bleich both incorporated the realities of WWII into his High Holiday agenda and made the Days of Awe more relevant to his community. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)A final example comes from a statement by Frank Weil, the President of the National Jewish Welfare Board in September 1945. Echoing the message of Rabbi Bleich, Weil expresses the feeling of hope for the Jewish community that accompanies the downfall of the tyrannical regimes in Europe. He commits the NJWB to relief and rehabilitation of displaced survivors of the war and reconstruction of Jewish communities abroad. He calls for prayer on these High Holidays—for Jews in America and for soldiers in Europe and the Far East—to be focused on the historic task of world peace, put forth by the prophets and proclaimed as the goal of mankind. In his message, Weil reveals the contemporary interest of the American Jewish community in supporting the rebuilding and revitalization of the Jewish people in Europe. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 11. Click here for the finding aid.)Check back for children’s quizzes on the High Holidays, and a look into historic Jewish communities through Sukkot bulletins and sermons!

Yom Kippur in the NJWB Records
by Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History

This post is part of the Holiday History Series. To view all posts in the series, click here.

Above image: Text on back of photograph reads, “Yom Kippur services at Great Lakes, Ill. I think 1942 or 1943. Rabbi Julius Mark was chaplain. Services held in drill hall, now Catholic chapel.” c/o American Jewish Historical Society.

I wrote my last post on sermons and bulletins specific to Rosh Hashanah. Now I will explore a few examples from Yom Kippur announcements. Like the previous examples, these again highlight events most concerning to American Jewish communities as well as the ways in which Jewish leaders connected such events to the Days of Awe. The materials come from records of the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB), housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections here at the Center for Jewish History.

The first example is an excerpt from a sermon delivered on Yom Kippur 1943 titled “The Jew and the Draft.” Doctor Rabbi A. Herbert Fedder of Laurelton Jewish Center begins his speech with a joke popular at the time: “What goes faster than a P-40? A Jew passing a draft board.” His sermon is devoted to debunking the myth that Jews avoid the draft in larger proportions than the rest of the American population, and arming Jews with facts that they can use to answer such a charge. After explaining common reasons Jews have been associated with avoiding the draft, Rabbi Fedder gives numerical evidence of Jewish involvement in the army at a proportion greater than that of other Americans. He calls for Jews to read, analyze, memorize and repeat the great contribution of the Jewish community to the American army. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)

Another example can be seen in a letter from Rabbi Manning Bleich addressed to the worshippers of Ohev Sholom Synagogue in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Before the penitential period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1945, Rabbi Bleich wrote that while arms have been laid down, the community should approach the Days of Awe with no less meaningful prayer than in previous years. True penitence can help return the world to peace and alleviate suffering of Jews everywhere. He dedicated his Slichot service that year (a service of prayers for forgiveness said before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) to Lieutenant Louis Krentzman, the first member of his congregation to fall “for G-d and Country.” He called for the pews to be filled in order to honor this brave soldier’s memory. By dedicating the Slichot service to a fallen member of his congregation, Rabbi Bleich both incorporated the realities of WWII into his High Holiday agenda and made the Days of Awe more relevant to his community. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)

A final example comes from a statement by Frank Weil, the President of the National Jewish Welfare Board in September 1945. Echoing the message of Rabbi Bleich, Weil expresses the feeling of hope for the Jewish community that accompanies the downfall of the tyrannical regimes in Europe. He commits the NJWB to relief and rehabilitation of displaced survivors of the war and reconstruction of Jewish communities abroad. He calls for prayer on these High Holidays—for Jews in America and for soldiers in Europe and the Far East—to be focused on the historic task of world peace, put forth by the prophets and proclaimed as the goal of mankind. In his message, Weil reveals the contemporary interest of the American Jewish community in supporting the rebuilding and revitalization of the Jewish people in Europe. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 11. Click here for the finding aid.)

Check back for children’s quizzes on the High Holidays, and a look into historic Jewish communities through Sukkot bulletins and sermons!

A Time to Reflectby Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History
This post is part of the Holiday History Series. To view all posts in the series, click here.
Above image: Text on back of photograph: “Chaplain Joseph H. Freedman Hq, USAFIME, is shown blowing the ‘Shofar’ during the annual religious service in observance of Rosh-Hashana. Photo by Sgt. E.M. Henderson, S.C., Signal Corps Photo Division, USAFIME.” Circa 1942. c/o American Jewish Historical Society. 
Since the high holidays draw the highest number of Jews to synagogue during the Jewish year, it is an apt time for congregational leaders to speak and write on topics of interest or concern to their communities. Sermons and bulletins on Rosh Hashanah, for example, typically inspire reflection on the past year and describe hopes for the year ahead.
As I noted in my previous post, records from the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB)—housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections here at the Center—allow us to see which world events were most relevant to Jews at specific time periods, as well as the thematic ways in which Jewish community leaders connected these events to the Jewish New Year.
The first example comes from a bulletin called “The Synagogue Light” by Rabbi Joseph Hager. On Rosh Hashanah 1941, in the midst of the Holocaust, he writes that as Jewish communities blow the ram’s horn, they should reflect on the innumerable losses in blood and treasure of the Jewish people in many parts of the world. He explains that over the past year Jews have been persecuted, their existence as a people has been threatened, and they have been made to experience the suffering of the dark ages. He expresses hope that on this Rosh Hashanah, prayer will hasten the coming of well-being for humanity, and that the new year will be one of deliverance and salvation for the Jewish people. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 9. Click here for the finding aid.)
Another example comes in the form of a New Year message from Dr. Louis Finkelstein, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1945. He begins by saying that as the enemies of democracy in Europe and Asia have been defeated, and men begin to return to their regular lives, it is a fitting on Rosh Hashanah to reflect upon the events of the past six years. He writes that even while much is being done to repair the world after the physical destruction of WWII, that the most important goal moving forward is to lay the foundation of lasting peace among nations. He connects this call for cooperation among mankind to the Rosh Hashanah themes of renewed heart and spirit. He puts forth the hope that as Jews help to rebuild the world and repopulate the Jewish people, that they focus on the establishment of Israel as a shelter for those in need and the education of children about the importance of a life devoted to Jewish values. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)
A final example comes from the President’s Message in the Mizrachi Women’s Cultural Guide on Rosh Hashanah 1948. She says that this is the first Jewish New Year since the creation of Israel and thanks God for the great events of the past year. In asking for peace and security of the new country, the President notes the importance of determined and loyal Zionists in the essential building up of the land, including its schools, agriculture and army. She hopes, on Rosh Hashanah, for the continued privilege of contributing to the growth of the Jewish people and the new state of Israel. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 11. Click here for the finding aid.)
Best wishes for a sweet new year, full of meaningful reflection on the past and hope for the future. Check back for a look into past Jewish communities through the lens of Yom Kippur sermons and bulletins.

A Time to Reflect
by Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History

This post is part of the Holiday History Series. To view all posts in the series, click here.

Above image: Text on back of photograph: “Chaplain Joseph H. Freedman Hq, USAFIME, is shown blowing the ‘Shofar’ during the annual religious service in observance of Rosh-Hashana. Photo by Sgt. E.M. Henderson, S.C., Signal Corps Photo Division, USAFIME.” Circa 1942. c/o American Jewish Historical Society. 

Since the high holidays draw the highest number of Jews to synagogue during the Jewish year, it is an apt time for congregational leaders to speak and write on topics of interest or concern to their communities. Sermons and bulletins on Rosh Hashanah, for example, typically inspire reflection on the past year and describe hopes for the year ahead.

As I noted in my previous post, records from the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB)—housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections here at the Center—allow us to see which world events were most relevant to Jews at specific time periods, as well as the thematic ways in which Jewish community leaders connected these events to the Jewish New Year.

The first example comes from a bulletin called “The Synagogue Light” by Rabbi Joseph Hager. On Rosh Hashanah 1941, in the midst of the Holocaust, he writes that as Jewish communities blow the ram’s horn, they should reflect on the innumerable losses in blood and treasure of the Jewish people in many parts of the world. He explains that over the past year Jews have been persecuted, their existence as a people has been threatened, and they have been made to experience the suffering of the dark ages. He expresses hope that on this Rosh Hashanah, prayer will hasten the coming of well-being for humanity, and that the new year will be one of deliverance and salvation for the Jewish people. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 9. Click here for the finding aid.)

Another example comes in the form of a New Year message from Dr. Louis Finkelstein, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1945. He begins by saying that as the enemies of democracy in Europe and Asia have been defeated, and men begin to return to their regular lives, it is a fitting on Rosh Hashanah to reflect upon the events of the past six years. He writes that even while much is being done to repair the world after the physical destruction of WWII, that the most important goal moving forward is to lay the foundation of lasting peace among nations. He connects this call for cooperation among mankind to the Rosh Hashanah themes of renewed heart and spirit. He puts forth the hope that as Jews help to rebuild the world and repopulate the Jewish people, that they focus on the establishment of Israel as a shelter for those in need and the education of children about the importance of a life devoted to Jewish values. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)

A final example comes from the President’s Message in the Mizrachi Women’s Cultural Guide on Rosh Hashanah 1948. She says that this is the first Jewish New Year since the creation of Israel and thanks God for the great events of the past year. In asking for peace and security of the new country, the President notes the importance of determined and loyal Zionists in the essential building up of the land, including its schools, agriculture and army. She hopes, on Rosh Hashanah, for the continued privilege of contributing to the growth of the Jewish people and the new state of Israel. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 11. Click here for the finding aid.)

Best wishes for a sweet new year, full of meaningful reflection on the past and hope for the future. Check back for a look into past Jewish communities through the lens of Yom Kippur sermons and bulletins.

Above image: The text on the back of the photograph reads, "Chaplain Nathan Landman, Air Force Jewish Chaplain for France, Spain, and Libya, examines the traditional Shofar (ram’s horn) and other High Holy Day religious equipment prior to taking off from Evreux-Fauville Air Base to Tripoli, Libya on the first leg of a 3,000 mile circuit in which he conducted eight services at five bases before returning to Evreux for Yom Kippur." from the collections of the American Jewish Historical Society.
Holiday History: Bulletins and Sermons from the NJWBby Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History
Over the next couple of weeks, I will post a series of articles that explore bulletins and sermons on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot from the records of the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB), housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections at the Center for Jewish History. These announcements reflect the desire of community leaders to place the Jewish holidays in the context of issues concerning American Jewry at the time. They show which events were most relevant to Jewish communities at specific time periods, as well as American Jewry’s reaction to national and global struggles. 
For example, in the middle of WWII, the NJWB published an announcement titled, “G.I. High Holy Days, 1943.” This document describes the ways in which the organization enabled the observance of the holiest days of the Jewish year by American Jewish soldiers and sailors worldwide. Large supplies of religious materials—such as prayer shawls and books, shofars and skull caps—were made available at military establishments, and Jewish chaplains led thousands of high holiday services across the globe. This document reveals the concern that those in the military would not be able to observe the high holidays, as well as the action taken by the NJWB to ensure holiday observance by Jewish servicemen during WWII. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 8. Click here for the finding aid.)        
Another example comes from a NJWB publication called, “The Jewish Holidays,” by Mordecai Soltes. Published in 1931 and revised in 1937 and 1943, the first three editions refer to Palestine and give short histories of Zionism, the Balfour Declaration and various Jewish organizations in the Yishuv (Jewish community in Palestine). The fourth edition, however, published in 1951, changes all wording from “Palestine” to “Israel” and shifts focus, reflecting new priorities in the young state. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)
For a glance into historical events through the eyes of Jewish communities during their holiest times, check back for posts specific to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Also look for a post or two featuring children’s trivia questions about the holidays, and see how many you can answer!

Above image: The text on the back of the photograph reads, "Chaplain Nathan Landman, Air Force Jewish Chaplain for France, Spain, and Libya, examines the traditional Shofar (ram’s horn) and other High Holy Day religious equipment prior to taking off from Evreux-Fauville Air Base to Tripoli, Libya on the first leg of a 3,000 mile circuit in which he conducted eight services at five bases before returning to Evreux for Yom Kippur." from the collections of the American Jewish Historical Society.

Holiday History: Bulletins and Sermons from the NJWB
by Rachel Rudman, M.A., Reference Services Research Intern, Center for Jewish History

Over the next couple of weeks, I will post a series of articles that explore bulletins and sermons on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot from the records of the National Jewish Welfare Board (NJWB), housed in the American Jewish Historical Society collections at the Center for Jewish History. These announcements reflect the desire of community leaders to place the Jewish holidays in the context of issues concerning American Jewry at the time. They show which events were most relevant to Jewish communities at specific time periods, as well as American Jewry’s reaction to national and global struggles.

For example, in the middle of WWII, the NJWB published an announcement titled, “G.I. High Holy Days, 1943.” This document describes the ways in which the organization enabled the observance of the holiest days of the Jewish year by American Jewish soldiers and sailors worldwide. Large supplies of religious materials—such as prayer shawls and books, shofars and skull caps—were made available at military establishments, and Jewish chaplains led thousands of high holiday services across the globe. This document reveals the concern that those in the military would not be able to observe the high holidays, as well as the action taken by the NJWB to ensure holiday observance by Jewish servicemen during WWII. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 8. Click here for the finding aid.)        

Another example comes from a NJWB publication called, “The Jewish Holidays,” by Mordecai Soltes. Published in 1931 and revised in 1937 and 1943, the first three editions refer to Palestine and give short histories of Zionism, the Balfour Declaration and various Jewish organizations in the Yishuv (Jewish community in Palestine). The fourth edition, however, published in 1951, changes all wording from “Palestine” to “Israel” and shifts focus, reflecting new priorities in the young state. (AJHS I-337, subgroup 1, series C, subseries 4, box 168, Folder 10. Click here for the finding aid.)

For a glance into historical events through the eyes of Jewish communities during their holiest times, check back for posts specific to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Also look for a post or two featuring children’s trivia questions about the holidays, and see how many you can answer!

Happy New Year from the Center for Jewish History. We’ve dug into our partners’ vast collections to find a wonderful selection of vintage Rosh Hashanah greeting cards to celebrate the Jewish New Year of 5773, which begins at sundown on Sunday, September 16, 2012.
 
The colorful cards date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and offer nostalgic greetings in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. A number were created by the Williamsburg Post Card Company and printed in Germany. The subjects are varied and include charming children, whimsical animals and religious subjects.
 
The tradition of sending Jewish New Year’s greetings goes back centuries. The famous scholar and rabbi known as Maharil (Jacob ben Moses Moellin, 1360 -1427 C.E.) mentions the custom as early as the 15th century. With the industrial revolution, printing became inexpensive. Greeting cards in the form we know today first became popular during the 1880s when entrepreneurs began selling cards printed specifically for Rosh Hashanah.
 
The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which begins this year at sundown on September 25, are known as the Days of Awe. They are a time of reflection, repentance and charity and continue to be a time of philanthropy, as organizations make their appeals to members.

Above: Click the images for larger views. The first 7 greeting cards are care of YU Museum collections. They can be viewed along with additional material on the Center’s Flickr page. The last image is from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research collections. It appeared in the Center’s Decade of Distinction publication.