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Rabbi Joseph I. Cohen Family Papers

Identifier: Mss 065

Scope and Contents

The historian interested in the growth and development of the Sephardic Jewish community in Atlanta will find this collection of special interest. The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.


  • Creation: 1931 - 1988


Conditions Governing Access

Container 1 Folder 19 – Conversations is closed to researchers.

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 Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Rabbi Joseph I. Cohen (1896-1981) was born in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey. His parents traced their ancestry back to the Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492. Rabbi Cohen served in the third division of the Turkish Army in World War I, in the Gallipoli Peninsula Campaign and, also, in the Palestine Campaign, and was held as a prisoner of war in Damascus, Syria. He later worked for the British Government in Jerusalem. Rabbi Cohen received his training for the rabbinate in Turkey, and accepted his first pulpit in Havana, Cuba in 1920 where he was spiritual leader of the Congregation union Hebraic de Cuba. In 1934, Rabbi Cohen moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and was installed as Rabbi of Congregation Or VeShalom three days after his arrival. In addition to his rabbinical duties, he served as the teacher and principal of Or VeShalom’s Hebrew School. Rabbi Cohen was also active at the Atlanta Bureau of Jewish Education, the Adult Institute of Jewish Studies, the Atlanta Jewish Federation, and was first president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association. Rabbi Cohen officially retired in 1969, but remained active at both the synagogue and in the community until his death in 1985.


1.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Rabbi Joseph I. Cohen was the spiritual leader of Congregation Or-VeShalom for more than thirty years. The papers consist of death, birth and marriage records of members of Congregation Or VeShalom, records of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, 1969-1978, and records from various organizations in which Rabbi Cohen was active.


All material is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Physical Location

Repository: The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Separated Materials

Photographs removed to visual arts collection and oversized material removed to oversized collection.

Rabbi Joseph I. Cohen Family Papers, Mss 65
Sandra Berman
May 1995
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States