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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 19],
[Box 20],
[Box 21],
[All]

Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Sermons, 1970Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Lessons of Leadership (2) Affirmations and Denials(Sedra Yitro) On Being Jewish - Series of 5 (I-V) The Slavery of Egypt - Past and Present Am Yisrael Chai! A Sermon on Parshat Naso Only 43 Days To Rosh Hashanah The Last Sabbath The Impossible Dream Abraham, Isaac, and Portnoy Inside your Mezuzah Big Questions and Big Answers (3) Sermon for Couples Club Sabbath The Well of Decision (Parshat Va-Yetze) "To Thine Own Self Be True"
Folder 2: Sermons (and In Memoriam), 1971Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: The Goat The Synagogue in the 70's Creative Service on Soviet Jewry Sanctuary A Twenty-Four-Hour-A-Day Religion (Parshat T'sorah) Dr. Nelson Glueck - In Memoriam "Are You Really Free?" (Parshat Tsav) Religion: A Non-Profit Enterprise Israel-Land of Youth and Visions (2) The Synagogue in the 70's II Make Yourselves Ready Personal Judaism The Best Years of Our Lives (3) Jerusalem the Golden - Whose City? The Voice of Jacob, The Hands of Esau (Sedra Toldot) The Power of Negative Thinking Do You Believe in Miracles? All of Our Fathers (Va-Y'Chi)
Folder 3: Sermons, 1972Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Let My People Know - Soviet Jewry & Israel Self-Enslavement (Parshat Bo) Bridges ot Brotherhood To Speak and to Listen The American Negro: Myths and Realities God's Four Questions The Fear of Life Parshat Naso The Curse of Criticism The Right and Wrong Uses of Memory The Quest for Jewish Survival (2) A Sermon Especially for Atheists The Tree of Life The Quality of Life "Give me That Old Time Religion" The Ladder and the Stone "Grow Old Along with Me" You and the New Morality - Changing Sexual Mores Pre-Confirmation Sermon What time Is It? Bar Mitzvah Sermons (2)
Folder 4: Sermons, 1973Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Reforming Reform: Do We Need a New Mitzvah System? New Priorities for Social Action The Gold Standard of Idolatry Miracles Do Happen On Being Called (Parshat Va-yikra) On Dry Land Facing Life Women of Valor Consequences Two Kinds of Faith Controversy, Good and Bad John XXIII - In Memoriam Blessing and Being Blessed (4) Three Hebrew Words - And a Fourth Private Enemy Number One Recipe for Jewish Living Finding Ourselves The Shofar's Call to Worship What Has Study To Do With Yom Kippur? Just Who is a Reform Jew? Guilt and Atonement
Folder 5: Sermons, 1974Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: A Recipe for Jewish Living Religion Without Crisis Prayer Isn't Kid Stuff The Dangers of Ambition Pathways to God The Palestinians - The U.N. - And Human Decency For Whom the Siren Sounds "It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature!" (3) Forgive us Our Virtues (2) People of Two Worlds (3)
Folder 6: Sermons, 1975Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: The Darkness of Egypt & the Darkness of Today Commentary on the Jewish World Scene The Dilemmas of Leadership Opening of Walker Scott Store - February 28, 1975 Giving of One's Self Prepare Yourselves! Reflections on Forty Years Together - Wedding Anniversary Masada Shall Not Fall Again! Message of the Sanctuary The Need to Believe The Need to be Loved The Need to be Needed Jews and the Bicenntennial "Look Unto the Rock..." (Story of Father Abraham) Inside Your Mezuzah Three Verbs Bar Mitzvah Sermon
Folder 7: Sermons, 1976-1979Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: The Discipline of Song Are You a Parent to Your Children? Our Prayerbook - What's New About IT? In Tune with the Times Don't Be Half Baked! Shema Yisrael "My Country, Tis of Thee" 2 parts (I-II) Sermon for Installation of Rabbi Martin S. Lawson (2) The Last Word? (2) All You Need is Faith With a Song in My Heart Our Fifth Pilgrimmage to Israel Yerushalayim This World of Ours What Can Jonah Teach Us? What Came After Sinai? The Wheel, the Cross, and the Star (Traffic Safety Council)
Folder 8: Sermons, 1980-1984Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Passover and Easter - A Common Message? Lest We Forget: A Sukkot Admonition Numbering our Days Living Forever (2) Counting our Blessings The Dreams of the Founders Cohnfidentially.... (Israel Today rabbinical message) A Matter of Faith (2) Let's Hear It For Isaac Michael Sternfeld Testimonial Israel is Real! "Be Comforted" (3) Why Are We Here? Here, O Israel! Believing is Seeing "Where Shall I Find Thee?" What Does God Think of Us? Untitled Special Meeting Message re new Torah Center Response to Dr. Alfred Gottschalk at Service Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Ordination [of Rabbi Cohn]
Folder 9: Sermons, 1985Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: My Kind of Judaism (2) Only 44 Days to Rosh Hashanah! (2) The Wall of Separation "The World is too Much with Us" (2) The Art of Forgiveness (2) The Next-To-Last Page in your Prayer Book The Fall of Freddie the Leaf Parshat D'Varim How Broad is Your Faith (2) Does Your Religion Challenge You?
Folder 10: Sermons, 1986-1989Add to your cart.
Sermon Titles: Lyndon La Rouche: The Politics of Hate (2) The Compensations of Sorrow Who Knows One? The Need to Repent The Pros and Cons of Controversy All of Our Fathers: The Pride of Ancestry (2) A Rosh Hashanah Greeting from Rabbi Cohn, 5747 (1987) Jews in an Alien World (2) Jews in Their Own World (2) Sermon to Catholic Community Rabbi Cohn's Rosh Hashanah Message, 5748 (1988)
Folder 11: Speeches by others, 1972, 1973Add to your cart.
Speeches by Others: *"The Sun is Setting": The Need to Return by Rabbi Dr. Herbert M. Baumgard *The Concept of "Israel" in Classical Jewish Literature by Rabbi Max Nussbaum "*Flight and Rescue: Brichah" by Yehuda Bauer Book Review by Philip S. Bernstein
Folder 12: Sermons - Undated, 1970s-1990sAdd to your cart.
Undated Sermon Titles: The Quality of Life The Dialogue of Life Have Your Tried Our Formula 3? (2) Holy Day Afterthoughts - The Blessing of Forgetting Hope and Humility - Parshat Hukkat "If I Forget Thee..." The Jewish Jesus and the Christian Christ (2) The Lovely Art of Letting Go A New View of Temptation Standing in Judgement (3) A Time to Remember Vindication of Vashti: A Post-Purim Plea What Jews Should Teach Their Children Yom Kippur Sheni (1973) Shabbat Shekalim Rosh Hashanah 5746 (Rabbi Cohn's Message to the Congregation)
Folder 13: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Speeches Alphabetical by Last Name A-L, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Speeches Alphabetical by Last Name M-Z, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Regulations and Rabbi Cohn Speeches to recipients, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Prayers for Various Occasions, 1970s-1990sAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Manuscripts - Meet the Prophets (Parts I-VI), 1981Add to your cart.
Lesson plans discussing the prophets of the Old Testament.
Folder 18: Manuscripts - Meet the Prophets (Parts VII-XIII), 1981Add to your cart.
Lesson plans discussing the prophets of the Old Testament.
Folder 19: Manuscripts - Giants of Judaism, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Lesson plans discussing important personalities in the history of Judism: Giants of Modern Judaism - Introduction Moses - Liberator & Lawgiver David - The Royal Bard Akiba - Strife Begins at Forty Saadia Gaon - Father of Jewish Philosophy Judah Halevi - God's Troubadour Don Isaac Abravanel - The Courtier & The Cross Baal Shem Tov - Apostle of Ecstacy Moses Mendelssohn - Forerunner of Freedom Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) Rashi - the French Teacher Hayim Nahman Bialik (1872-1934) Maimodides- The Second Moses Franz Rosenzweig - A Chronicle of Courage (1886-1929) Martin Buber - Gottschalk (1878-1965) Isaac Mayer Wise Solomon Schechter (1847-1915)
Folder 20: Manuscript: The Lifetime of a Jew - A Child Is Born, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Lesson plan discussing important events throughout the lifetime of a Jew.
Folder 21: Address of Dedication: Morton J. Cohn Torah School and Lipin Center - Temple Emanu-El, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Material for sermons from articles, newsletters, and pamphletsAdd to your cart.

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