The Temple (Atlanta, Ga.) Records
Scope and Contents
Of special interest in this collection are the files and personal diary of Leo Frank and the newspaper articles relating to his trial and conviction; the correspondence and scrapbook of Rabbi David M. Marx; the correspondence files of Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild; and the marriage, membership and cemetery records of The Temple, which provide genealogical information. The researcher will also find numerous family histories relating to the experiences and history of some of Atlanta’s first Jewish families.
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1853 - 1959
Conditions Governing Access
There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
The Temple was formally incorporated as the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation on April 1, 1867. Several months earlier, Rabbi Isaac Leeser of Philadelphia visited Atlanta to perform the marriage ceremony for Emilie Baer and Abraham Rosenfeld. He used the occasion of their wedding to encourage the Jewish men of Atlanta to organize the city's first Jewish congregation. In the early years, the service was Orthodox, and members with knowledge of Hebrew took turns conducting it. The congregation's first rabbi, Rev. Mr. D. Burgheim, came to the Temple in 1869. He was followed in quick succession by Rabbi Benjamin Aaron Bonnheim, in 1870, Rabbi Henry Gerson in 1874, Dr. Edward Benjamin Morris "Alphabet" Browne in 1877, Rabbi Jacob S. Jacobson in 1887, and Rabbi Leo Reich in 1888. It was not until Dr. David Marx accepted the pulpit in 1895 that the Temple would have stability in the rabbinate. Rabbi Marx remained in that position for the next 51 years. During Rabbi Marx's tenure at the Temple, he led the congregation from Orthodoxy to Classical Reform Judaism, established a sisterhood, a modern religious school and choir, to name just a few of the many innovations that he urged upon his congregants. He was also a liaison between the Jewish and general communities and was well respected by both.
Rabbi Marx remained the spiritual leader of the Temple until his retirement in 1946. He was followed by Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, who arrived in Atlanta in July of that same year. Soon after his arrival, Rabbi Rothschild established children's services, organized the Temple’s youth group, the children's choir and began the publication of a congregational bulletin. Like his predecessor, the new rabbi was also a well-respected leader in both the Jewish and general communities. He was one of the first among the early Jewish leaders to actively campaign for racial equality and helped to bring the Temple into the forefront of that effort. As a result of that involvement, the Temple was bombed in the early morning hours of October 12, 1958. Following the bombing, the City of Atlanta rallied behind the Temple and its rabbi. Rabbi Rothschild remained steadfast in his support of Civil Rights and was a well-respected community leader until his untimely death in 1973. His tenure as rabbi was followed by the election of Alvin Sugarman in 1974, under whose direction the Temple continued to evolve and develop. Rabbi Sugarman retired and was named Rabbi Emeritus of the Temple in 2004. Rabbi Peter S. Berg was elected to lead the congregation in 2008 and still serves as the Lynne and Howard Halpern Senior Rabbinic Chair as of 2020. From its humble beginning in 1867, The Temple has become one of the most well-respected congregations in the Southeast and continues to offer both spiritual and secular leadership for its many members.
75 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
From its humble beginning in 1867, The Temple has become one of the most well-respected congregations in the Southeast and continues to offer both spiritual and secular leadership for its many members. The records consist of meeting minutes, reports, financial statements, bulletins, correspondence, membership records, religious school records, and newsletters.
All material is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder. Additional Board of Trustee minutes and financial records not found in chronological order are located in the oversize bound volumes in Containers 33-41.
Photographs removed to visual arts collection, oversized material removed to oversized collection, and textiles removed to textile collection.
Processed by Sandra Berman in 1991, with additions by Jeremy Katz, 2018. Converted to ArchivesSpace by Lindsay Resnick in 2020.
- The Temple (Atlanta, Ga.) Records, Mss 59
- Processed by Sandra Berman in 1991, with additions by Jeremy Katz, 2018.
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository
1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States