Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the Congregation Sherith Israel records, 1851-2003
BANC MSS 2010/720  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (153.64 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Congregation Sherith Israel records
    Date (inclusive): 1851-2003
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2010/720
    Creators : Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Extent: Number of containers: 96 cartons, 3 boxes, 21 oversize boxes, 72 volumes, and 1 oversize folder (linear feet: 135)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The collection consists of the records of San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel from circa 1851 to 2003. Included are administrative records; correspondence; financial records; building and property records; cemetery records; membership records; religious school records; confirmation and bar/bat mitzvah records; materials relating to the congregation's rabbis and cantors; files relating to liturgy, services, and holidays; records of the congregation's Sisterhood and Brotherhood; subject files; newsletters; scrapbooks; and photographs.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English, German, and Hebrew.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open to researchers.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Congregation Sherith Israel records, BANC MSS 2010/720, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, Calif.)--Archives
    Giboth Olam (Cemetery : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Hills of Eternity Memorial Park (Colma, Calif.)
    First Hebrew Benevolent Society (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Bar Mitzvah--California--San Francisco
    Bat Mitzvah--California--San Francisco
    Cemeteries--California--San Francisco
    Jewish cemeteries--California--Colma
    Confirmation (Jewish rite)--California--San Francisco
    Marriage records--California--San Francisco
    Jews--California--San Francisco
    Jewish women--California--San Francisco--Societies, etc.
    Jews--Education--California--San Francisco
    Rabbis--California--San Francisco--Correspondence
    Jewish youth--California--San Francisco--Services for
    San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906
    Synagogues--California--San Francisco
    San Francisco (Calif.)--Religious life and customs
    By-laws--California--San Francisco
    Cash books--California--San Francisco
    Ledgers--California--San Francisco
    Correspondence--California--San Francisco
    Marriage certificates--California--San Francisco
    Burial records--California--San Francisco
    Minutes--California--San Francisco
    Newsletters--California--San Francisco
    Photographs--California--San Francisco
    Prayer books--California--San Francisco
    Reports--California--San Francisco
    Scrapbooks--California--San Francisco
    Goldstein, Morris M., 1904-1984
    Nieto, Jacob, 1863-1930
    Weiner, Martin
    Messing, Aaron Joseph, 1843-1916
    Badt, Alexander L.
    Weinstein, Jacob
    Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, Calif.). Board of Trustees
    Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, Calif.). Sisterhood
    Western Jewish History Center. 256.
    Judah L. Magnes Museum. WJHC 1968.006.
    Bancroft Library. Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Congregation Sherith Israel records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 2010.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged into 16 series: Administrative; Correspondence; Financial; Building and Property; Cemetery; Membership; Religious School; Confirmation and Bar/Bat Mitzvah; Rabbis and Cantors; Marriage; Liturgy, Services, and Holidays; Sisterhood and Brotherhood; Temple Subject Files; Newsletter; Scrapbooks; and Photographs.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lara Michels in 2011.

    Organizational History

    San Francisco's Congregation Sherith Israel has its roots in the Gold Rush era immigration and migration of Jews from Prussia, Bavaria, England, France and the East Coast of the United States. By the end of 1850, these Jewish San Franciscans had founded two benevolent societies, established a cemetery, worshipped together on the High Holidays, and were considering creating a formal congregation. They managed to come together briefly but soon split into two groups: the English and North Germans, who demanded that worship in the new congregation adhere to the Minhag Polen (the Polish rite), and the primarily Bavarian Jewish immigrants, who wished to worship according to the Minhag Ashkenaz (the traditional German rite). In 1851, the first group formed Congregation Sherith Israel and the second formed the other of San Francisco's leading congregations, Emanu-El. Sherith Israel built is first synagogue on Stockton Street, between Broadway and Vallejo, in 1854. In 1870, having outgrown its first building, the congregation moved into an impressive Gothic style synagogue on Post and Taylor Streets. It was here, in its home on Post and Taylor Streets, that Sherith Israel began to take steps away from its Orthodox roots and toward Reform. This movement towards Reform was helped along by two of Sherith Israel's most prominent rabbis, Henry Vidaver and Jacob Nieto. In 1902, the congregation purchased the site of its current synagogue at California and Webster Streets. Albert Pissis, a prominent San Francisco architect, was immediately hired to design the new building. In 1905, the synagogue, with its noteworthy stained glass windows, elaborate frescoes, and Murray Harris organ, was consecrated. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire spared Sherith Israel's new building, causing only minor damage. The synagogue was actually used as a courthouse after the calamity and played host to Abe Ruef's notorious corruption trial. Rabbis who served Sherith Israel during the years documented by this collection are as follows: Henry A. Henry (1857-1869), Aaron Messing (1870-1873), Henry A. Vidaver (1874-1882), Falk Vidaver (1883-1892), Jacob Nieto (1893-1930), Jacob Weinstein (1930-1932), Morris Goldstein (1932-1972), and Martin Weiner (1972-2003).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of the records of Congregation Sherith Israel from circa 1851 to 2003. Included are administrative materials, such as bylaws, meeting minutes (dating to 1851), and reports; correspondence, including Board of Trustees correspondence dating back to the middle of the 1860s; financial records, including ledgers, journals, daybooks, cashbooks, warrant lists, and financial reports from the 1860s through the 1930s (though a few financial records date to the 1850s); a small series of building and property records; the records of Sherith Israel's cemeteries, Giboth Olam (located in what is now Mission Dolores Park from 1860 though 1889) and Hills of Eternity (located in Colma); membership records, including files on members arranged by surname and seat deeds and seat registers; records of Sherith Israel's religious school; confirmation and bar/bat mitzvah records; some materials relating to the rabbis and cantors of Sherith Israel, including some of Jacob Nieto's correspondence; the congregation's marriage records, including marriage contract books (dating back to 1859), certificate stub books, and marriage authorizations; records relating to Sherith Israel's liturgy, services, and holiday observances; records of the congregation's Sisterhood and Brotherhood; two sets of Temple Subject Files that date back to 1900 but mostly document the concerns and activities of the congregation from the 1940s through the 1970s; issues of Sherith Israel's newsletter dating to 1927; a set of scrapbooks and scrapbook pages that document Sherith Israel's publicity as well as activities of the Sisterhood and other congregational clubs and groups; and photographs.