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Finding Aid to the Congregation Beth Israel-Judea records, 1862-1999
BANC MSS 2010/641  
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Container List


Series 1 Corporate, Financial, and Administrative. 1864-1959

Physical Description: Carton 1, folders 1-7; Volumes 1-5

Scope and Content

This series contains by-laws, financial and historical records, and minutes. By-Laws include the 1904 "By-Laws and Rules of Order" and an undated revision. Financial materials include a 1959 Audit report, various membership documents including financial appeal letters, receipts, dues forms, a breakdown of membership by location (c. 1959), and a ledger listing pledges towards furnishing the 1908 temple. Historical materials include the commemorative booklets from the congregation's 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations which include historical essays, and notes by L. Fleishmann on the 1906-1908 minute books. The four volumes of Congregation Beth Israel meeting minutes cover the years between 1886 and 1950 (vol. 1: 10/17/1886-9/6/1904; vol. 2: 10/30/1904-10/29/1916; vol. 3: 11/12/1916-11/18/1926; vol. 4: 1/13/1927-1/19/1950). This series also includes a ledger (vol. 5) listing membership dues payments for 1878-1884.

Series 2 Congregational Materials. 1887-1999

Physical Description: Carton 1, folders 8-57; Carton 2, folders 1-2

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a wide variety of clippings, letters, bulletins, tickets, announcements, congregational publications, and other documents covering the full range of activities and events sponsored by the congregation (Services, Adult Education, Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Holidays, Lectures, Religious School, and various clubs) from the 1880s through the 1990s (with the bulk of material dating from circa 1940 through 1970). Most of these materials were produced by Congregation Beth Israel, but some originate from the merged institution, Congregation Beth Israel-Judea, including a religious school journal for Temple Judea (1957); annual membership rosters for Temple Judea (1961, 1966); a dedication journal for Temple Judea's new synagogue building, from 1964, which has a list of the congregation's members; a dedication book for Beth Israel-Judea's Rabbi Elliot M. Burstein activities building, from 1976; and annual membership rosters for Congregation Beth Israel-Judea (i.e. 1971, 1986, 1989, 1996, 1999).

Series 3 Marriage Licenses. 1882-1935

Physical Description: Oversize Boxes 1-3

Scope and Content Note

This series contains the official marriage licenses/certificates for Congregational Beth Israel weddings held between 1882 and 1935 with the majority from 1898-1916. The certificates are arranged alphabetically by groom's name (A-G in Oversize Box 1; H-N in Oversize Box 2; and O-Z in Oversize Box 3) and include signatures and official stamps.

Series 4 Salem Cemetery. 1895-1962

Physical Description: Carton 2, folders 3-9

Scope and Content Note

This series contains information on the Salem Cemetery owned by Congregation Beth Israel in Colma. Materials range from a 1895 plot deed (Anne Harris) to a program from a 1962 general memorial service held at the cemetary and various advertisements/informational brochures. Also included are three small books two of which are labeled "Permanent Care of Plots" containing alphabetical listings of names and plot numbers. One of the books contains dates (1915-1921) next to most of the names, and another includes addresses. The fourth volume is imprinted "Memorial Book Congregation Beth Israel" and lists names divided into male and female and dates from 1901-1957. Also of note is a booklet containing the arguments of the congregation's lawyers to the California Supreme Court in a lawsuit against the cemetery (over the type of headstone they erect) by two disgruntled family members.

Series 5 Cornerstone. circa 1905

Physical Description: Carton 2, folders 10-21, Oversize Folder 2B

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a clipping concerning the retrieval of the cornerstone and the items placed in the original cornerstone for Beth Israel's last building at 1839 Geary. The cornerstone was laid in 1905 and retrieved in 1989. Documents include constitutions and by-laws for a number of local Jewish organizations active in 1905. Organizations include other synagogues (Emanu-El, Sherith Israel, Kenesseth Israel, and Ohabai Shalome), social welfare organizations (Eureka Benevolent Society, First Hebrew Benevolent Society, Jewish Ladies Relief Society, and the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum and Home Society), the Mount Zion Hospital Association, a list of those eligible for medical services through Chevra Shaare Refooah (in Oversize Folder 2B), the B'nai B'rith and the Young Men's Hebrew Association. The B'nai B'rith materials include the Proceedings from the 42nd Annual Session of District Grand Lodge No. 4 (San Francisco), 1905 and the Eighth General Convention held in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 19th-24th, 1905, and two other pamphlets (1897 and 1905), as well as copies of local and national constitutions and by-laws. The Benai Berith Hall Association, which owned the San Francisco B'nai B'rith Buildings, is also represented by its by-laws. Also preserved is the actual metal box in which these documents were found (in the museum holdings of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life).

Series 6 Photographs. circa 1900-1960

Physical Description: Carton 2, folders 22-42; Oversize Folders 1A and 2B

Scope and Content Note

This series contains photographs of people, activities, and building interiors and exteriors associated with Beth Israel. The majority of the photos appear to be from the late 1940s and early 1950s, though there are some early photographs dating between circa 1900 and 1925). Early photographs include four oversize photographs (circa 1900) of the interior of Temple Beth Israel (including images of the pews, the Bema, and an open Torah ark), photographs showing the destruction of the newly finished building after the 1906 earthquake and fire, and several early wedding photos. There are extensive photos from two separate commemorative dinners for Rabbi Burstein, one celebrating his 25th anniversary with the congregation in 1952 and the other apparently from his 20th anniversary celebration in 1948. A large number of photos show a variety of people associated with the temple (both individuals and group shots) including a folder specifically on the Beth Israel Sisterhood's activities. Some of the photos include identification. Other photos document congregational activities including musical events and religious services in the temple building, and religious school activities including a Purim Carnival, confirmations, tree planting, a Chanukah service, the 1950 graduation class, the Youth Choir, and unidentified school assemblies. Confirmation photos includes pictures from the early 20s through the 1950s, including two early oversize prints (in Oversize Folder 1A). Also included is an oversized panoramic shot showing delegates to the First Pacific Coast Conference of the United Synagogue of America held at Beth Israel May 3, 1932 (in Oversize Folder 2B) and pictures of Beth Israel's Salem Cemetery including headstone samples, a series of snapshots of the cemetery and photographs from a photo album commemorating the dedication of the Salem Garden Mausoleum in 1958.