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Rabbi Morton J. Cohn Collection, 1925-1990 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Bonnie M. Harris, Laurel Schwartz, and Helene Idels

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Collection Overview

Title: Rabbi Morton J. Cohn Collection, 1925-1990Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Cohn, Morton J. (1910-1991)

Extent: 26.76 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 08/28/2017. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Congregation Beth Israel (San Diego, Calif.), Jews--California--San Diego

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of materials collected from Cohn's school days until his death. Included are correspondence; over 2000 sermons; plays; personal documents; photographs and materials relating the various congregations he served.  There are scrapbooks and newspaper clippings regarding both Cohn and his wife Sally and current events, index cards, pamphlets, research notes and plaques.

Biographical Note

Rabbi Morton Jacob Cohn was born January 12, 1910 in Detroit, Michigan and was ordained as a reform rabbi in 1934. After serving pulpits in various cities, he enlisted as a Navy Chaplain during World War II with the Southern Pacific Fleet and continued in the Naval Reserve for many years. In 1946 he settled in San Diego where he became rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel and remained there until 1964 when he left to found Temple Emanu-El, whose religious school bears his name.

Rabbi Cohn was meticulous in preserving anything relating to his career, the San Diego Jewish community, Judaism and currents events involving Jews, making his collection a comprehensive picture of San Diego Jewish life during his almost 50 years here. As rabbi of the largest Jewish congregation in San Diego, he was a formidable leader in the Jewish and secular communities. He was one of three rabbis, (Cohn, Levens, Stern) who lead the San Diego Jewish community from the years after WWII until the 1970’s.  He was very involved in interfaith activities, gave a weekly radio sermon, created and participated in musical parodies for holidays, rabbinical conventions and special occasions. He maintained a card catalog of life cycle events at which he officiated and a bibliographical file of research materials. Part of this collection is material regarding his wife, Sally Cohn, who was very involved in women’s groups and the sisterhoods of the congregations Cohn served. She started the San Diego Women's Association for the Salk Institute. They had two children Jane and Morton Cohn Jr. Rabbi Cohn died in 1991; Sally Cohn died in 1994.

Subject/Index Terms

Congregation Beth Israel (San Diego, Calif.)
Jews--California--San Diego

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Accruals: 2017-043

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Acquisition Source: Jewish Historical Society of San Diego

Related Materials:

Adat Ami Synagogue Collection

Lou Dunst Collection

Mark Freeman Papers

Deborah Horwitz and Paul Nierman Collection

Rose Neumann Collection

Elena Saad Collection

Irving Salomon Collection

Tifereth Israel Synagogue Collection

Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz Collection

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Rabbi Morton J. Cohn Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

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[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
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[Box 20],
[Box 21],
[All]

Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Youth SWIG Camp, 1966-1971Add to your cart.
Correspondence, applications, agendas, and newsletters of the UAHC's (Union of American Hebrew Congregations) Swig Camp* for Living Judaism at Saratoga: Leadership Training Institute for Youth. *Originally known as Camp Saratoga but renamed Swig Camp after Benjamin H. Swig in honor of a significant donation made by Swig.
Folder 2: Youth ETY and TERY (Temple Emanu-El Religious Youth), 1970Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to youth functions of Temple Emanu-El: TERY (Temple Emanu-El Religious Youth); ETY (Emanu-El Temple Youth) Constitution; resume forms; planning notes; mailers re: activities.
Folder 3: Religious School - Class OutlinesAdd to your cart.
Class outlines: Comparative religion introduction; Roman Catholic Church: papal infallibility, hierarchy, angels, the Saints, next life, mass, sacraments, baptism, marriage, holy orders, monks, nuns, Bible; Protestantism: private judgement, Bible, three theologies, fundamentalism, liberalism, evangelicalism; Lutheran Churches; Episcopal Churches; Presbyterian Churches; Congregationalists; Unitarians; Baptists; Disciples; Methodists; Quakers; Literature of the Bible ("The Book of Books").
Folder 4: Religious School Papers - 1960's, 1964-1969Add to your cart.
Items regarding religious school: correspondence form letters to parents; lists; registration forms; class rosters; attendance records.
Folder 5: Religious School Papers - 1970's, 1970-1977Add to your cart.
Items regarding religious school: committee reports, religious conclave, student rosters, correspondences, teacher directory, teacher resumes, UAHC publication, newsletters.
Folder 6: Religious School Parent Manuals -, 1968-1970Add to your cart.
Sabbath School Parents' Manual: 1968-1969 (2); 1969-1970.
Folder 7: Religious School Parent Manuals, 1970-1973Add to your cart.
Sabbath School Parents' Manual: 1970-1971 (2); 1971-1972 (2); 1972-1973.
Folder 8: Religious School Teacher Manuals, 1969-1970Add to your cart.
Teacher's Manual of Temple Emanu-El Religious School: 1969-1970 (2).
Folder 9: Religious School Teacher Manuals, 1970-1971Add to your cart.
Teacher's Manual of Temple Emanu-El Religious School: 1970-1971
Folder 10: Religious School Teacher Manuals, 1971-1972Add to your cart.
Teacher's Manual of Temple Emanu-El Religious School: 1971-1972
Folder 11: Confirmations - 1965, 1965Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1965: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 12: Confirmations - 1966, 1966Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1966: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 13: Confirmations - 1967, 1967Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1967: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 14: Confirmations - 1968, 1968Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1968: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 15: Confirmations - 1969, 1969Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1969: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 16: Confirmations - 1970, 1970Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1970: financial records, instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 17: Confirmations - 1971, 1971Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1971: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 18: Confirmations - 1972, 1972Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1972: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, Hebrew teachers salary scale, Educators' committee meeting minutes, etc.
Folder 19: Confirmations - 1973, 1973Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1973: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 20: Confirmations - 1974, 1974Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1974: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 21: Confirmations - 1975, 1975Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1975: Ceremony of Confirmation, instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 22: Confirmations - 1976, 1976Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1976: Confirmation Order of Service, instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 23: Confirmations - 1977, 1977Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1977: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 24: Confirmations - 1978, 1978Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1978: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, supplies, song verses, etc.
Folder 25: Confirmations - Instructions, Program Outlines, & Miscellaneous Papers, 1965-1976Add to your cart.
Items pertaining to confirmation services 1965, 1974/75, 1976, and other years unknown: instructions, programs, outlines of service, prayers, declaration of faith, assigned parts of the service, song verses, supplies, etc.
Folder 26: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Invitations, 1966-1982Add to your cart.
Invitations to Bar Mitzvahs of: Swartz - 1982 Zemlick - 1967 Maisel - 1967 Bloom - 1967 Segal - 1968 Rifkind - 1966 Lewis - 1967
Folder 27: Services Programs - Temple Emanu-El, 1966-1990Add to your cart.
Programs regarding: Dedication of Cohn Torah School; Yom Kippur; Succoth, assorted newsletters of Temple Emanu-El 1966-1978; Book of Remembrance, Temple Emanu-El Silver Anniversary Ball 1989, New Members' Sabbath, Rosh Hashonah Torah Dedication.
Folder 28: Services Programs - Other Synagogues, 1956-1983Add to your cart.
Programs regarding: Confirmation Services - Congregation Rodeph Sholom 1956; Bulletin of Temple Beth El 1963; San Diego State College Commencement 1966; Testimonial Dinner Honoring Rabbi Maxwell H. Dubin 1968; Sabbath Worship Temple Beth El 1968; San Diego County Men of Distinction Awards Luncheon April 25, 1973; Yizkor Memorial Service Book of Remembrance - Congregation Beth B'Midbar 1983; Patrick Henry High School Baccalaureate 1976; Temple Bulletin - Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation; Congregation Beth Israel Bulletin 1977; Sertoma Follies 1968.
Folder 29: Brotherhood Pamphlets, no dates indicatedAdd to your cart.
Pamphlets published by National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods on assorted topics: membership; activities and projects; program guide; Boy's club, prayers and Psalms.
Folder 30: Torah Pages - Hebrew, no dates indicatedAdd to your cart.
Pages of Torah Readings in Hebrew.
Folder 31: High Holy Days - Tickets, 1966-1967Add to your cart.
Items regarding High Holy Days: admission cards for services; notes regarding attendance; names of ticket holders; form letters from Board of Directors re: issuing tickets; names for committees.
Folder 31.1: High Holy Days - Rabbinic Cabinet United Jewish Appeal, 1984 (5744)Add to your cart.
Rabbinic Cabinet United Jewish Appeal (UJA) High Holy Days Materials, 5744. "The Renewal of the Jewish People a Year After Lebanon". committee pamphlet with sermons.
Folder 32: Pulpit Calendars, 1970-1971; 1988-1989Add to your cart.
Pulpit calendars
Folder 33: American Friends of the Hebrew University, 1970Add to your cart.
Correspondence re: Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Folder 34: Vietnam, 1965-1967Add to your cart.
Correspondence from San Diego Committee of Clergymen and Laymen concerned about Vietnam; A Policy Statement on Viet-Nam of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America (1965); A Message to the Churches on Viet-Nam (1965).
Folder 35: Soviet Jewry, 1970-1972Add to your cart.
Regional Soviet Jewry Action Newsletter 11/71; correspondence from San Diego Council for Soviet Jewry.
Folder 36: Ethiopian Jewry, 1980-1989Add to your cart.
San Diego Jewish Times article "Sorting Out 'Who is A Jew' for the Ethiopians" April 27, 1989; correspondences from Rescue Committee for Ethiopian Jews 1985, 1988; "The Falashas" - A Background Paper on Ethiopian Jews by Abraham Karlikow Jan. 1980; list of Ethiopian Jews deceased in African drought, 1982.
Folder 37: Haggadah & Diaspora Seder, 1960s-70sAdd to your cart.
Contents of Rabbi Cohn's Passover Seder Haggadah Manual with prayers for deliverance of Diaspora Jews; Soviet Jewry; also prayers for Elijah.
Folder 38: Contents - Rabbi Manuals, 1950s-1990sAdd to your cart.
Contents of Rabbi Cohn's Rabbi Manuals: Memorial Service Programs, information on circumcision, prayer book for gravesites, Kaddish remembrances, assorted papers.
Folder 39: Personal & Miscellaneous Finances, 1970s-1980sAdd to your cart.
Business cards; uncashed check dated 7/31/83 for $162 from Congregation Beth Israel of San Diego to Rabbi Cohn; decal; airline receipt; bankruptcy papers for Kurt's Gourmet Catering.
Folder 40: Boy Scouts of America, 1970s; 1948Add to your cart.
Boy Scouts of America record cards and Sabbath pamphlets.
Folder 41: Temple Emanu-El Tour of Israel, London, and Portugal, 1969; 1971; 1974Add to your cart.
Tour pamphlets: Temple Emanu-El Tour of Israel, London, and Portugal presented by Rabbi & Mrs. Morton J. Cohn (1974); All Faiths Tour of the Holy Land and Europe (1971); Ecumenical Tour of the Holy Land and Europe (1969).

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Box 10],
[Box 11],
[Box 12],
[Box 13],
[Box 14],
[Box 15],
[Box 16],
[Box 17],
[Box 18],
[Box 19],
[Box 20],
[Box 21],
[All]


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