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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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[All]

Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Rabbi Cohn Installation Program, 1946Add to your cart.
Program of Installation Ceremonies of Rabbi Morton J. Cohn Temple Beth Israel, Friday, September 6, 1946
Folder 1.1: Nursery School, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, pamphlets regarding establishment of Nursery School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 2: Religious School, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, lesson plans, correspondence to teachers regarding religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 3: Religious School, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, lesson plans, correspondence to teachers regarding religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 4: Religious School - Odd sizes, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, lesson plans, booklets, attendance records, correspondence to teachers regarding Religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 5: Religious School - Materials, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, correspondence regarding ordering materials for Religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 6: Religious School - Greeting Cards, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Notes, cards, forms, correspondence regarding Religious School greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries, etc., Temple Beth Israel
Folder 7: Junior League, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Constitution of Temple Junior League Temple Beth Israel
Folder 8: Temple Youth League, 1947-1965Add to your cart.
Rosters, flyers, misc. papers regarding Temple Youth League events; Jewish Youth Conference 1953.
Folder 9: Religious School - Parent Manuals, 1945-1965Add to your cart.
Parent manuals for Religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 10: Religious School -Teacher Manuals, 1955-1959Add to your cart.
Teacher manuals for Religious School, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 11: Confirmation Programs, 1940s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Programs and announcements/invitations for confirmation excercises ("Ceremony of Confirmation"), Temple Beth Israel Program for Confirmation Service at Temple Emanu-El (Dallas, TX), 1945
Folder 12: Confirmation Materials, 1940s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Materials for confirmation excercises, Temple Beth Israel
Folder 13: Chanukah Materials, 1940s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Materials for Chanukah celebration, Temple Beth Israel.
Folder 14: Purim Materials, 1930s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Materials for Purim celebration, Temple Beth Israel.
Folder 15: Hadassah Materials, 1950-1960Add to your cart.
Materials (bulletins, etc.) about Hadassah, San Diego Chapter
Folder 16: Adult Education, 1930s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Sermons and other information regarding adult education
Folder 17: Bible Correspondence Course, 1930s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Lessons and quizzes for Bible correspondence course.
Folder 18: Programs - Baccalaureate and Commencement, 1950-1960sAdd to your cart.
Programs from baccalaureate and commencement services - high schools, junior highs, college
Folder 19: Programs - Civic and Military Organizations, 1940s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Invitations and programs from honorary luncheons, services, dedications, military reviews, commencements, music festivals, presentations in the civic and military communities.
Folder 19.1: Dedication Programs - Naval Training Center and Naval Hospital Chapels, 1948-1952Add to your cart.
United States Naval Hospital Service of Dedication programs for dedication of window installations, 1948-1949. U.S. Naval Hospital Corps School Commencement program, 1949. U.S. Naval Training Center Recruit Brigade Review Recruit Training Command program, 1952. Torah Convocation at the United States Naval Training Center (North Chapel), 1952.
Folder 20: Temple Beth Israel Services and Special Occasions, 1940s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Invitations, pamphlets, programs, announcements, outlines, newsletters for miscellaneous services at Temple Beth Israel, i.e., funerals, birthdays, receptions, dinners, Kiddush services, installations, Sabbath, dedication, High Holy Days, and others.
Folder 21: Pulpit calendars, list of contributors, item re: nominating committee., 1940s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Pulpit calendars, list of contributors, item re: nominating committee.
Folder 22: Building Program Information, 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Notes, pamphlets, correspondence regarding Temple Beth Israel Building Program.
Folder 23: Union of American Hebrew Congregations - UAHC, 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Notes, pamphlets, correspondence regarding constitution, by-laws, Shabbat service, financial, statistical data, delegates, regional office, Pacific Southwest Council, standards, committees of the UAHC (Union of American Hebrew Congregations).
Folder 24: Union of American Hebrew Congregations - UAHC, 1940s-1950sAdd to your cart.
Notes, pamphlets, minutes, correspondence regarding American Reform Judaism, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism, College of Jewish Studies, University Synagogue, Southern California Council, Welfare Fund through the UAHC (Union of American Hebrew Congregations). Survey of Current Reform Practice by Laymen - 42nd General Assembly UAHC.
Folder 25: Union of American Hebrew Congregations - UAHC, 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Notes, pamphlets, minutes, correspondence regarding Combined Campaign, donations, expenditures, Temple Isaiah, registration, new congregations, assembly of delegates, board members, directory through the UAHC (Union of American Hebrew Congregations). Kit ito Aid in Observance of the 85th Anniversary of the UAHC - 1959, combined with Annual Isaac M. Wise Memorial Sabbath Kit.
Folder 26: Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion and UAHC College of Jewish Studies, 1950s-1970sAdd to your cart.
Notes, pamphlets, minutes, programs, correspondence, poster regarding schedule of classes, degree programs, lecture series, class syllabus; session notes & addresses by professors re: Year in Israel Program, California School, Judaism, traditions, paganism, prayer, Hebrew Bible, Jewish Festivals, synagogue of the Jewish Institute of Religion.
Folder 27: Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, 1954Add to your cart.
Correspondence from Alumni Association regarding Quinquennial Fund and appreciation to donors.
Folder 28: Bureau of Jewish Education, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Correspondence, minutes, and reports regarding teaching personnel, conferences, graduations, parties, by-laws, activities, and schedules of Bureau of Jewish Education.
Folder 29: Institute on Judaism, 3/30/1951Add to your cart.
Workbooks for Institutes on Judaism For the Christian Clergy, published by Commission on Institutes on Judaism.
Folder 30: Institute on Judaism, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Correspondence regarding the Institutes on Judaism for the Christian Clergy seminar; Bar Mitzvah regulations, hotel reservations; press release.
Folder 31: Correspondence and Notes, 1950s - 1960sAdd to your cart.
Miscelanneous handwritten and typed invitations, correspondence, postcards, and notes.
Folder 32: Correspondence and Notes, 1950s - 1960sAdd to your cart.
Miscellaneous newsletter and journal articles written by others (poverty, mercy, justice); program for A Creative Service ("Spritual Hunger") by Rabbi Ahron Opher.
Folder 33: Synagogue Forms and Invitation, 1940s - 1960sAdd to your cart.
Synagogue forms and invitation: New Year's Eve dinner party ticket (1946/47); San Diego Clergy Concerned About Vietnam postcard; Congregation of Beth Israel Census Card; blank marriage certificates.
Folder 34: Notes - Special Programs, 1940s - 1960sAdd to your cart.
Notes for special programs: Passover broadcast; participants for Rabbi Joseph Hurwitz dinner program; Summer of Concern; and The Church and Poverty.
Folder 35: Personal Travel Records of Rabbi Cohn, 1940s - 1960sAdd to your cart.
Receipts and travel packing list.

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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