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Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.) Records

Collection ID

SCRC 5

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)

Description

Collection Summary

Title
Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.) Records

Dates
1924-2019

Collection ID
SCRC 5

Creator
Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.)

Quantity
14.17 linear feet (23 boxes)

Repository
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Language
Materials in English.

 

Detailed Collection Information 

Historical Note
The Conservative Synagogue, Beth Am Israel was chartered on March 24, 1924 and founded by members of the Woodland Avenue Hebrew Association in 1923 who resolved to begin a Congregation and build a Synagogue for the Jewish community living in the Kingsessing neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia. The Congregation originally adopted the name Beth-Am in 1924 and changed its name to Beth Am Israel in 1927 after the construction of the Synagogue at 58th and Warrington Streets. That same year, the Congregation elected Morris S. Goodblatt as their Rabbi, who served Beth Am Israel for forty-four years as spiritual leader and as Rabbi Emeritus until his death in 1978. Over its tenure, the Congregation has organized and supported various groups including the Men’s Club, founded in 1929 and later renamed Brotherhood Beth Am Israel in 1959, and the Sisterhood, whose primary function is fundraising through various sales and social events. Beth Am Israel has offered educational programming since 1928 through its Hebrew High School and Religious School. In 1971, the Congregation broke ground for the construction of a new Synagogue outside Philadelphia in the western suburb of Penn Valley, PA, in Lower Merion Township. Two years later, the new Synagogue building opened forcing members of the Congregation to either travel outside the city to worship or relocate to an alternative Synagogue. In 2003, the 1971 building was demolished and a new Synagogue constructed on the existing property. 

Description of Collection
The collection primarily documents the administrative and social activities of a Conservative Synagogue from its founding in 1924 through the early 2000s. The collection includes Board of Directors’ records, correspondence, photographs, building and property records, and publicity materials. The activities of the Sisterhood are extensively documented as well as congregational membership from 1983 through 2003. The collection only marginally documents the activities of the Religious School and does not include any administrative records from its operation or the operation of the Hebrew High School. This collection includes preserved versions of the organization’s website, available through Archive-It.

Organization and Arrangement
The collection is arranged into eight series as follows:

Series 1: Administrative records, 1924–2004
Series 2: Financial records, 1931–1999
Series 3: Building and grounds, 1926–2004
Series 4: Affiliate organizations, 1924–2007
Series 5: Education, 1937–2006
Series 6: Congregation membership, 1929–2003
Series 7: Publicity and events, 1929–2006
Series 8: Photographs, 1939–2004, undated
Series 9: Website versions in Archive-It, 2014-2019

Series 1: Administrative records, 1924–2004, consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, and agendas produced by the Synagogue’s Board of Directors. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically with materials about the Congregation’s history at the beginning.

Series 2: Financial records, 1931–1999, consist of income and disbursements ledger, financial statements and reports, and correspondence related to the Synagogue’s Capital Campaign. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.

Series 3: Building and grounds, 1926–2004, consist of correspondence, property appraisals and deeds, agreements of sale, building specifications and blueprints, zoning briefs, and dedication programs primarily related to the construction of the Synagogue building in Penn Valley, PA, but also the construction of the first Synagogue at 58th and Warrington Streets, the religious school and community center dedicated in 1949, and the second Synagogue constructed on the Penn Valley property in 2003. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.

Series 4: Affiliate organizations, 1924–2007, consist of materials produced by the various groups organized by the Congregation to engage including the Brotherhood and Chapter Beth Am Israel. The bulk of the series is comprised of meeting minutes and event invitations and programs documenting the activities of the Sisterhood, Beth Am Israel’s women’s group. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.

Series 5: Education, 1937–2006, consists of a limited number of education guides and miscellaneous records produced by the religious school and participants of the educational programming offered by Beth Am Israel. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.

Series 6: Congregation membership, 1929–2003, consists primarily of directories listing members of the Congregation. The bulk of the directories are dated 1983 or later. The folders in this series are arranged chronologically.

Series 7: Publicity and events, 1929–2006, consist of souvenir programs distributed in conjunction with the annual ball, concerts, and other special events, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and miscellaneous publications produced by the Congregation. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.

Series 8: Photographs, 1939–2004, undated, consist of black and white and color photographs and slides of various religious and educational events involving Congregation officers, members, and their families. The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically by subject matter. Photographs from the albums listed in this series were removed from the original adhesive pages, but kept in their original order. All unidentified photographs are filed at the end of the series in box 22.

Series 9: Website versions in Archive-It, 2014-2019, contains preserved versions of Beth Am Israel's website. To access these sites, see the Temple University Special Collections Jewish Archives Archive-It web page:  https://www.archive-it.org/collections/4280

   

Patron Information

Catalog Record
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: https://librarysearch.temple.edu/catalog/991036440509703811

Research Access
Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off–Site
This collection may be housed off–site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Accruals
Additions to this collection are expected. Websites are captured using Archive-It periodically, and the latest additions may not yet be included in this finding aid. For information on material–physical and digital, including captured websites–that may have been added since the last finding aid update, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Publication and Copyright Information
The Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.) Records are the physical property of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries.The donor has not assigned their rights to Temple University Libraries.  Other creators’ intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to them or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.) Records, SCRC 5, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Donated by Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.) in 2008. Collection previously administered by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, acquired by Temple in June 2009.

Processing Information
Collection processed and finding aid prepared in April 2013 by Jessica M. Lydon, Associate Archivist. Finding aid reformatted and patron and administrative information updated in February 2020. 

 

Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Personal Names:
Goodblatt, Morris S.

Corporate Names:
Beth Am Israel (Penn Valley, Pa.)
Beth Am Israel (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Subjects:
Conservative Judaism –– Customs and Practices
Synagogues –– Pennsylvania –– Penn Valley
Synagogues –– Pennsylvania –– Philadelphia

Material Types:
Architectural drawings
Born digital
Clippings
Correspondence
Directories
Financial records
Minutes
Photographs
Souvenir programs
Web sites

 

Collection Inventory

Series 1: Administrative records, 1924–2004

Box   Folder   Description

1          1          Congregation history          1994, undated

1          2          Board of Directors member lists          1928–1996

15                    Board of Directors minute book          1924–1928

16                    Board of Directors minute book          1949–1957

17                    Board of Directors minute book          1957–1963

1          3          Board of Directors minutes          1984–1993

1          4          Board of Directors minutes          1994

1          5          Board of Directors minutes          1995–1996

1          6          Board of Directors minutes          1997–1998

1          7          Cemetery committee          1935–1988

1          8          Community development committee          1997

11          1          Constitution and bylaws          1976, 1981, 1988, undated

1          9          Correspondence, 1949–1987          undated

1          10          Correspondence          1995–1997

1          11          Correspondence          1997–1998

2          1          Education committee          1987–1997

2          2          Irwin, Frank eulogy          2001

2          3          Joint Commission on Rabbinic Placement questionnaire          circa 2003

2          4          Long range planning committee          1992, 2004

2          5          New site building committee          1995–1996

2          6          New site building committee          1996–1997

2          7          Nominating committee          1977, 1998, 2000

2          8          Personnel resumes, contracts, and position announcements          1971–1998

2          9          Program committee          undated

2          10          Ritual committee          1971–1995

2          11          Steering committee          1969–1970

2          12          Temple Israel Reports of Chair people          1995

          

Series 2: Financial records, 1931–1999

Box   Folder   Description

2          13          Accounts payable and receivable ledger          1936–1951

2          14          Assets and liabilities statements          1931–1939

2          15          Capital Campaign          1991–1998

3          1          Capital Campaign          1998

3          2          Endowment reports          1974–1975

3          3          Financial statements          1950–1958

3          4          Financial statements          1959–1971

11          2          Financial statements          1972–1975

3          5          Financial statements          1976–1999

3          6          Line of credit          1985-1992, 1997

 

Series 3: Building and grounds, 1925–2004

Box   Folder   Description          

11          3          Agreement of sale to Bethany Baptist Church          1970

11          4          Agreements of sale and title          1949–1972

11          5          Architect and contractor's agreements          1971–1972

23          1           Blueprints          1967–1976

3          7          Building campaign          1926

3          8          Building correspondence          1932, 1968–1971

3          9          Building correspondence          1972–1979

4          1          Building correspondence          1980–1988

4          2          Construction bills          1970–1990

4          3          Dedication of school and community center program          1949

11          6          Edward H. Bernstein and Associates specifications for a multi-purpose building          circa 1971

19          1          Emergency telegram          January 14, 1963

4          4          Estate of John Rosetti          1970–1972

4          5          Ground lease for parking          1998

4          6          Laying of Synagogue cornerstone          1926

11          7          McLeister and Goldman Inc. complaint          1973–1975

4          7          Portable classrooms          1998–2000

4          8          Property appraisals          1982, 1996, 1999

11          8          Property deed          1925 

4          9          Property insurance policy          1996

4          10          Religious School laying of cornerstone student songs and comments          1972

4          11          Site survey          1994

4          12          Synagogue dedication and ad book          2004

4          13          Synagogue expansion          1970, undated

11          9          Zoning Board of Lower Merion Township hearings and briefs          1969–1970

 

Series 4: Affiliate organizations, 1924–2007

Box   Folder   Description

4          14          Boy Scout Troop 195          1933, undated

4          15          Brotherhood          1938–1965

11          10          Chapter Beth Am Israel          1937

19          2          Chapter events scrapbook          1937–1938 

4          16          National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America pamphlets          1970, undated

4          17          National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America Sisterhood guidelines          1964–1972

5          1          Sisterhood board minute book          1944–1956

5          2          Sisterhood board minutes          1959–1964, 1970

5          3          Sisterhood bylaws          undated

5          4          Sisterhood event invitations and programs          1952–1959

5          5          Sisterhood event invitations and programs, 1960–2007          undated

18        1            Sisterhood Golden Book of Life          1938–1961

22        1            Sisterhood Golden Book of Life          1961–1973

5          6          Sisterhood minute book          1924–1932

6          1          Sisterhood minute book          1933–1938

6          2          Sisterhood minute book          1938–1945

6          3          Sisterhood minute book          1945–1956

6          4          Sisterhood minutes          1958–1966

6          5          Sisterhood minutes          1966–1967, 1970–1971

6          6          Sisterhood president address          June 19, 1928

7          1–2          Sisterhood scrapbook          1957–1969

 

Series 5: Education, 1937–2006

Box   Folder   Description

8          1          Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education          1992

8          2          Shtetl class theater script          undated

8          3          Bar/Bat Mitzvah family program          1990

11          11          Gross, Mildred award for service certificate          1937

8          4          Ha–Madrich learning programs guide          2002–2003

8          5          Lish Scholarship Fund          1952–1978

8          6          Morris Goodblatt Religious School          1952–2006

 

Series 6: Congregation membership, 1929–2003

Box   Folder   Description

8          7          Membership directories          1929, 1962, 1967, 1983–1988

8          8          Membership directories          1989–1995

9          1          Membership directories          1996–2003

11          12          Membership application          1992

9          2          Membership cards          1970–1971

9          3          Rabbi’s evaluation comments          August 1997 

 

Series 7: Publicity and events, 1929–2006 

Box   Folder   Description

9          4          Anniversary programs          1957–1958

9          5          Annual ball souvenir programs          1929, 1932

9          6          Annual revue and dance souvenir programs          1934–1935

9          7          Annual revue and dance souvenir programs          1936, 1938

9          8          Annual dinner dance souvenir programs          1940–1941

9          9          Annual dinner dance souvenir program          1945

9          10          Beth Am Israel memory book          2004

9          11          Concert programs          1925, 1990, 2001, 2005, 2006

9          12          Congregation newsletters          1930, 1942, 1957–1969

10          1          Congregation newsletters          1997

10          2          High holy days services programs          1981, 2005–2006

10          3          Installation of Rabbi Michael Bernstein          2005

10          4          Newspaper clippings          1972–1978, undated

10          5          Press Releases          1975–1987

10          6          Shabbat and Yom Kippur services          2005, undated

10          7          Shabbat Siddur Jewish prayer book          1986

10          8          Synagogue news          circa 1987

10          9          Theater productions          1963, 1974, 2005

10          10          Yizkor books of remembrance          1995, 2005 

 

Series 8: Photographs, 1939–2004, undated

Box   Folder   Description

12          1          Photograph album #1          circa 1985

12          2          Photograph album #2           1990–1996

12          3–5          Photograph album #3          undated

19          3          Photograph album #4          1956–1959

12          6          Twentieth Anniversary Celebration photograph album          November 11–16, 1947

13          1          Autumn bistro          undated

13          2          Awards ceremonies, 1968          undated

13          3          Basketball team          undated

23          2          Burning of the second mortgage          1930

13          4          Cabaret          April 1999

19          4          Confirmation class          1939, 1953–1965

19          5          Confirmation class          1966–1968, undated

13          5          Cornerstone laying for new school and center          December 19 1948

20          1          Dedication exercises for the new school and community center          May 1, 1949

20          2          Goodblatt, Jonathan          undated

13          6          Groundbreaking for new school and synagogue          1970

13          7          Hebrew High School          1964–1965, undated.

20          3          Hebrew High School graduating class          1958–1960, undated

13          8          Installation of Rabbi Alan Turetz          circa 1973

13          9          Israel Independence Day          1985, 1987, undated

13          10          Junior Congregation          1949, undated

13          11          Memorial Park Mt. Lebanon Cemetery          undated

13          12          Officers and Board of Directors          1951, 1957, 1965, undated

13          13          Penn Valley project          undated

13          14          Portrait photographs          undated

13          15          Purim          2004

13          16          Religious school building exterior          undated

13          17          Religious school faculty          undated

14          1          Religious school students          1947–1972, undated

14          2          Sisterhood, 1958          undated

14          3          Slides          1976, 1980

14          4          Synagogue interior and exterior          1948, undated

20          4          Theatrical performances          1951, 1962–1965, 1992, undated

20          5          Twenty–fifth jubilee          May 18 1952

14          5          Tours, 1978          undated

14          6          Walking the Torah home          November 2, 2003

21                    Unidentified photographs          1947–2004, undated

 

Series 9: Website versions in Archive-It, 2014-2019

Series 9 contains preserved versions of Beth Am Israel’s website. To access these sites, see the Temple University Special Collections Jewish Archives Archive-It web page:  https://www.archive-it.org/collections/4280