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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 4],
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[Box 15],
[Box 16],
[Box 17],
[Box 18],
[Box 19],
[Box 20],
[Box 21],
[All]

Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Sermons, 1950Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: These Things We Believe - Series of 4 lectures Light for the Lamps of Progress Purim and Liberal Judaism Common Sense about Intermarriage The Eternal Light of Knowledge The Old Master Builder Freedom and Democracy Challenging Years Israel and the Arab Problem Portrait of a Parent Pre-Confirmation Sermon Three C's of Religion Rosh Hashonah Message (Southwestern Jewish Press) Rosh Hashonah Radio Talk The Way Back With Dreams we Build an Altar Father Abraham and the Salesman The Parade of the Penitents Where Do You Live? Facing the Inevitable Miracles: Ancient and Modern What Man Most Desires Where Jew and Christian Meet
Folder 2: Sermons, 1951Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Trials and Triumphs of Family Living End and Means in Achieving Peace ABC's for Parents The Mystic Bond of Brotherhood An Example for Youth to Follow The Little "Red" Schoolhouse The Perilous Price of Prejudice Good Friday Thoughts About Crucifixion Pre-Passover Postulates Have We Outgrown Judaism? 6 part series Why Confirmation? What Makes a Congregation Holy? The Art of Being Jewish What Does Kol Nidre Mean to You? "The Soul that Sinneth" The Bible in the Public School? David and Bathsheba Religion in a Warring World Missionaries To and From Judaism Only One Blessing - Religion and Secularism Christianity's Debt to Judaism
Folder 3: Sermons, 1952Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: A Rabbi's Definition of Religion Burning Bushes Religion and Psychiatry - Where Do They Meet and Part? American and Israel - Two Way Passage The Message of Two Great Lives Where in the World is God? Both Sides of the Coin The Jewish Ideal of Holiness What Is God? Passover and Easter - A Common Message? Who is a Liberal? (2) The Leprosy of the Soul Overhauling the Family Protecting Our Inheritance Our Debt to Our Youth What Can Our Children Teach Us? Giving God a Vacation Israel Today The Vows of the Disloyal On Being Human A Good Life, A Joyous Life Rosh Hashonah Television Sermon The Tabernacle of Happiness Creating a New World Torah, Chochmah, and the United Nations Test for Candidates Post-Election Thoughts Books Can Be Dangereous Isaac and Rebekkah Versus Romeo and Juliet Judasim's Debt to Christianity
Folder 4: Sermons, 1953Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Parshas Tsav - Shabbas Hagadol Chaim Weizmann: The End of an Epoch A President is Inaugurated What's Behind the Prague and Moscow Trials? (2 parts) Strange Fires Unhappy Parents (2) Is Repentence Old-Fashioned? The Anatomy of Prayer It Can Happen Anywhere The Quest for Happiness Know Before Whom Thou Standest Time Out for Inventory: 5 part Series Books and Barbarians The Hanukah Way of Life
Folder 5: Sermons, 1954Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: "Dear Mr. President...." (Letter to President Eisenhower) (4 copies) This is Your Wife Memorial Day Service of Dedication From Generation to Generation Will the New Year Be a Good Year? How to Prepare for Kol Nidre Why Fast? The Miracle of America, I & II Freedom in Crisis America Will the Fourth Century Bring Jewish Unity?
Folder 6: Sermons, 1955Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: UJF Luncheon A Glimpse into Jewish Bookland How Do You Think of God? You Were There! Simple Things as Big as the World On Being a Jew Judaism - The Hope of the World The Meaning of Sin "Thou Shalt Teach Them Diligently" Your Success Story - 9 part series
Folder 7: Sermons and Memorials, 1956Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Henry Weinberger Albert Steinbaum Passover, Israel, and the Middle East The Quest for Inner Peace Sermon for Kol Nidre Jewishness without Judaism? Positive Judasim Building Christian Citizenship in a Democracy (3 copies) Making the Most of Your Life - 7 part series Qualifications of Synagogue Leadership
Folder 8: Sermons, 1957Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Memorial Address - Home of Peace Cemetery Arabs, Israelis, and Morality Jews behind the Iron Curtain It Wasn't As Good As the Book (A Critique of DeMille's "Ten Commandments") Easter and Passover - A Common Message Guest Editorial The Last Word? The Understanding Heart Is there Any Hope? Preparation The Sin of Self-Deception Books Are Our Weapons Let Us Win the Peace Counting our Blessings (A Pre-Thanksgiving Sermon) The Reform Jew and the State of Israel Hanukah Television Sermon
Folder 9: Sermons and Memorials, 1958Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Nathan Baranov (memorial) Address at Annual Mtg (San Diego County Council of Camp Fire Girls) "Sermon in Song" (Temple Beth Israel) How Long Will Our Children Be Ours? What is Life Worth to You? What Does a Rabbi Want? God is Not "Out of This World" The Art of Forgiveness Can We Change Ourselves From Adam to Atom - Space Age Religion The Three Dimensions of Religious Faith The Message of the Kaddish 20 Questions on the Synagogue and Social Action The Pillar of Salt We Congratulate a Ten Year Old (Sermon notes for Israel's 10th Anniversary) Ten Years Ago Today (Part II) Left-Over Turkey
Folder 10: Sermons, 1959Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Atlas, Lunik, and You: Trio of Triumph or Terror? The Contributions of Judaism to Our Democratic Faith The Contributions of Judaism to Man's Spiritual Heritage Music Festival February 20, 1959 Four Score and Five Years Ago Many Warsaw Ghettos Your Inner Sanctuary Disturbing the Comfortable The Fear of Life My Pilgrimmage to Israel Part I My Pilgrimmage to Israel Part II Prayer is the Answer The Uncommitted Heart The Rabbi and the Shmoo More About the Shmoo God's Great Experiment God's Gladiators
Folder 11: Sermons and Memorial, 1960Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Christmas Message Humility The Truth About the Crucifixion Theodor Herzl: In Memoriam Anti-Semitism is Your Business Only Five Days to Rosh Hashanah Judaism - For Whom? Inside Your Mezuzah How Real is Your Religion? The Little Things of Life The World's First Sailor and His Rainbow Are You a Gambler? Our Responsibility The Meaning of T'Shuvah
Folder 12: Sermons, 1961Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Spiritual Aspects of Synagogue Architecture Henrietta Szold - A Centennial Tribute Questions Which Jews Ask (3) Eichmann and World's Conscience Race? Nation? Religion? Eichmann and the World's Conscience Conflict Do You Believe in Miracles? What is the Basis of the Dietary Laws? Is Keeping Kosher of Any Validity Today? Why Confirmation? (2) Faith in the Future (2) The Paradoxes of Popular Judaism What do you See? Just Who is a Reform Jew? The High Cost of Getting Even A Menu for Yom Kippur Righteous in Our Generation You and Your Prayer Book - Series of 4 (I-IV) Family worship Series sermon notes
Folder 13: Sermons and JFK Tribute, 1962-65Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Dedication Remarks - North County Jewish Community Center The Last Word on Eichmann - Or Can it Happen Again? Again the Arab Refugees Towards Arab-Jewish Understanding Family Worship Service The True Leader Are You Prepared? Some Impudent Questions The Unfinished Task (3) - Sermon for Race Relations Sabbath Ground Breaking Address - San Diego Health Association Hospital March 15, 1964 Sermonette for "Let there Be Light" Graduation Address - Sheriff's Dept. Training Academy Nov. 30, 1964 How Much is it Worth? Prelude to Brotherhood Week: The Jew and the Negro Revolution No Jew is an Island (Sermon for UJF Sabbath) The President's War on Poverty "To Do Justly" To Love Mercy Rosh Hashanah Radio Sermon (2) Memorial Meditation To Walk Humbly with God Judaism, College-Style Parshat Ki Tavo John F. Kennedy: A Rabbi's Tribute and In Memoriam (includes copy of Temple Beth El Bulletin with memorial tribute and copy of Congregation Shaare Emeth Temple Bulletin with memorial sermon) The Address of Consecration Dedicating the Site of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at San Diego, CA on June 2, 1962
Folder 14: Sermons, 1966Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Man's Hope for Survival Making the Most of Your Life Building Christian Citizenship in a Democracy Hai means Life The Destiny of the American Jew - 7 part Series (I-VII) The Sound of the Shofar The Book of Life The Kol Nidre Song "Oh, Careless Love!" Annual Homecoming Service This is Your Wife (2)
Folder 15: Sermons, 1967Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: The 10 Commandments in our Time The Synagogue and Social Action Questions and Answers on Social Action "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok Thank God for Our Teachers! The Crisis in the Middle East Are We Growing Morally Soft? The Worlds We Live In Sermon at Camp Saratoga Leadership Session, Fri., June 25, 1967 What's Happening to our College Youth? (College Homecoming)
Folder 16: Sermons, 1968Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Temple Beth Sholom 10th Anniversary, August 11, 1968 Religion in U.S.O. (Foreign Officers Amphibeous Training School) Vietnam - A Jewish Point of View The Morality Gap It's "In" to be Jewish What is in Your Hand? (2) On Being Human The American Image - Hollywood Style Babel - A Fable for Adults (2) The War on Jewish Poverty Heaven Help Us! Negroes and Jews - Bias or Brotherhood? Reopening Old Wells The College Campus and Jewish Survival If You Had Three Wishes (A Meditation for the New Year)
Folder 17: Sermons, 1969Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Campus Unrest The Meaning of Israel - 7 Part Series (I-VII) Sermon on Parshat Bo The Miracle of Purim - Past and Present Today's Challenge to Judaism Guideposts for Successful Living Sermon for Installation of Officers and Directors Daughters of Israel: A Bat Mitzvah Sermon The Three R's of Jewish Education We Remember (A Memorial Day Sermon) Shabbat Shuvah Message "This Covenant . . ." (Sermon for Yom Kippur) The Rosh Hashanah Sermon I Didn't Preach He Was a Saint - Almost (Parshat Noah) The Struggle Within
Folder 18: Sermons - Holy Days Undated, 1950s-60sAdd to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Television Program for Passover (TV Script) (UAHC) Hanukah Television Script Shovous Script (Jewish Chautauqua Society) Judaism's Message for Today's World How Face Our Sorrows? Pathways to God That Land of Ours Passover and Easter - A Commom Message? This Faith of Ours The Jew's Search for Identity The Conquest of Homelessness Rosh Hashonah The Story of the Red Cow (2) A Sermon for Parshat Naso Affirmations and Denials Is Forgivemess God's Business? The Quality of Life
Folder 19: Sermons and Memorial Tribute - Miscellaneous Undated, 1950s-60sAdd to your cart.
Miscellaneous Undated Sermon Titles: Psychiatry and Religion A Sermon for Brotherhood Week The American Negro - Myths and Realities (2) The Religious Significance of the State of Israel Meditation - A Memorial Tribute to Henry Warren Horwitz Life's Greatest Riddle The Humble Prophet Mr. All, Mr. Nothing, and Mr. In-Between The Right to be Different Religion - Conviction or Conformity? Bombs, Babies, and Boredom - Three Great Challenges of Our Time
Folder 20: Sermons - Incomplete Sermons - Undated, 1950s-60sAdd to your cart.
Assorted pages from multiple undated incomplete sermons. Some titles: Rabbi Lawson Atonement Afterthoughts Religion in a Warring World
Folder 21: Prayers for Various Occasions, 1950s-60sAdd to your cart.
Prayers given for various occasions including: dedications, dinners, luncheons, promotional exercises, graduations, memorial services, installation services, Yahrzeit, commencements.
Folder 22: Sermons Given by Other Rabbis (United Jewish Layman's Committee and Union of American Hebrew Congregations), 1950s-60sAdd to your cart.
Sermon Titles: God in the Image of Man - Rabbi Rosenblum The Cardinal Sin - Rabbi Gordis A Salute to HUC:America's Oldest Seminary - Rabbi Brickner The Jewish Position on Jesus - Rabbi Brickner The Meaning of Shabuoth - Rabbi Lieberman Life Can Be Cruel! - Rabbi Gittelsohn A Fresh Start in Life: Is It Ever Too Late? - Rabbi Newman What Makes for a Happy Marriage? - Rabbi Schnachtel Eyes Upon Israel - Rabbi Zeitlin Under the Microscope - Rabbi Mayerberg The Lesson of Liberty - Rabbi Goldburg The Lesson of Life and Death - Rabbi Goldburg Message of Israel - Rabbi Kramer Israel Re-visited - Rabbi Friedman Israel in Spirit - Rabbi Friedman Personality Factors in Jewish Education- Rabbi Essrig "The Function of Religion" - Dr. Samuel Cohon Search for Truth - S. Jay Levy The Music of the Synagogue - Max Wohlberh Music Festival I Sermons in Song II Sermons in Song III Sermons by Rabbi David Polish UJA Sabbath Sermon - Rabbi Mowshowitz Acceptance Speech of President Jerome Schoenfeld America's Jews and the Mystique of Israel - Ben Zion Bokser "Jerusalem of Gold" (Message of Israel) - Rabbi Arfa An American Look at Kristallnacht - Sherwood Gordon

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[Box 11],
[Box 12],
[Box 13],
[Box 14],
[Box 15],
[Box 16],
[Box 17],
[Box 18],
[Box 19],
[Box 20],
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[All]


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