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Rabbi Harry H. Epstein Papers

Identifier: Mss 001

Scope and Contents

Researchers examining the Rabbi Harry H. Epstein Papers can gain greater insight into Jewish life in the South and Jewish congregation in Atlanta.


  • 1907 - 1984


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Harry H. Epstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Ahavath Achim was the spiritual leader of that congregation for over 50 years. His early life was spent in Chicago, Illinois where his father, Ephraim, was the Chief Rabbi of the Orthodox community. At a young age, he, too, decided on a rabbinical career. His studies in pursuit of the ordination took him to the Slabodka Yeshiva in Lithuania in 1922 to study with his uncle, Rabbi Moshe Mordecai Epstein, and then to Hebron in Palestine to be one of that Yeshiva's first students. Rabbi Epstein was ordained in 1925, and accepted his first pulpit at Congregation B'nai Emunah in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1927. A year later, at the age of 25, Rabbi Epstein left Tulsa and assumed the rabbinate at Ahavath Achim in Atlanta. Ahavath Achim was organized in 1886 as a small fundamentalist Orthodox congregation. Under the leadership and direction of Rabbi Epstein, it has evolved into one of the largest and respected Conservative congregations in the South. Rabbi Epstein introduced such innovations as interpreting the Hebrew liturgy to English at intervals during holiday service, conducting responsive readings in English, and the removal of the traditional segregation of the congregation by sexes. He also initiated an extensive educational program at the Synagogue, offering both Sunday and after school instruction. An ardent Zionist, Rabbi Epstein is devoted to the State of Israel, working first to insure the creation of the state and then to insure it future.


8.8 Linear Feet (27 Boxes)


Rabbi Harry H. Epstein was the spiritual leader of the Congregation Ahavath Achim in Atlanta, Georgia, for over 50 years. The bulk of the collection relates to his tenure and rabbinate at Ahavath Achim, but there is also material related to his academic career, personal life, and activities as a leading community figure in Atlanta and the South. His papers consist of academic course work, sermons, addresses, meeting minutes, writings, publications, correspondence, and scrapbooks.


The Rabbi Harry H. Epstein papers are arranged alphabetically by folder description and chronologically within each folder.

Custodial History

The Cuba Family Archives accessioned the Rabbi Harry H. Epstein Papers in February, 1987.

Related Materials

Mss 008, Samuel Krasner Papers

Mss 009, Louis J. Levitas Family Papers

Mss 014, Ahavath Achim Congregational Sisterhood (Atlanta, Ga.) Records

Mss 21, Ahavath Achim Congregation Records

Separated Materials

Photographs removed to visual arts

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sandra Berman in April 1986.
Rabbi Harry H. Epstein Papers
Sandra Berman
April 1986
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