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Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia Records

Collection ID


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Collection Summary

Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia Records


Collection ID

Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia

1.46 linear feet (4 boxes)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English.

Detailed Collection Information

Historical Note
The Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia were established in 1946 by Rabbi Chaim U. Lipschitz for the purposes of operating all day Hebrew schools for training and instruction in Orthodox Jewish traditions and secular studies. The name Beth Jacob was designated in memory of the network of schools in Warsaw, Poland, of the same name that provided traditional Jewish studies and industrial training for girls in the post-WWI era. The original Beth Jacob School in Philadelphia, located at 900 N. 7th consisted of 12 pupils enrolled in kindergarten and 1st grade. Within a decade, the single school had relocated to South Philadelphia and housed a nursery school, kindergarten, and elementary classes with upper grades and a High School for Girls held at the school’s annex in Strawberry Mansion. Beth Jacob expanded to include satellite branches in the Oxford Circle and Germantown neighborhoods to accommodate the migrating Jewish population. Beth Jacob Schools, initially funded by voluntary contributions, operated through fundraising efforts in the Jewish community and government subsidies, supplemented by allocations from the Allied Jewish Appeal and subsequently the Federation of Jewish Agencies. The Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia ceased operation circa 1986.

Description of Collection
The collection includes correspondence, Board of Directors meeting minutes, financial documentation, photographs, yearbooks, and other printed material related to school activities and events. The bulk of the collection spans the years Rabbi Aaron Popack served as Executive Director from 1953 to 1974. The collection contains limited documentation for the earliest and latest years of operation, in particular circumstances relating to the close of the schools.

Organization and Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 5 series as follows:

Series 1: Board of Directors, 1952-1974
Series 2: Financial records, 1942-1972
Series 3: Day camp, 1968-1972
Series 4: Subject files, 1949-1976
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1950-1973

Series 1: Board of Directors, 1952-1974, is arranged alphabetically and consists of the school’s bylaws, correspondence, lists of board members, and meeting minutes. The correspondence is primarily outgoing communications to faculty, staff, parents, and related educational institutions. Primary correspondents include Executive Director, Rabbi Aaron Popack, Dean, Rabbi Felix Freifelder, Principal of the Germantown branch, Rabbi Maurice Gross, and President of Beth Jacob Schools, Leonard A. Cohen.

Series 2: Financial records, 1942-1972, are arranged alphabetically and include auditors’ reports, a payroll ledger, title insurance, and school property documents and deeds, miscellaneous financial reports, and donation lists.

Series 3: Day camp, 1968-1972, is arranged alphabetically and consists primarily of financial agreements and medical authorization and consent forms for the day camp held in the summer of 1971 hosted by Beth Jacob Schools. The medical authorization and consent forms for campers are restricted for 75 years from latest date of the materials.

Series 4: Subject files, 1949-1974, are arranged alphabetically by topic and include school newsletters and brochures, commencement programs, newspaper clippings about school events, yearbooks, press releases, and other printed material. 

Series 5: Photographs, circa 1950-1973, are arranged alphabetically and consist of color and black-and-white photographs of school events, formal class portraits, and classroom activities.


Patron Information

Alternate Form Available
A selection of photographs from this collection has been digitized and is available online on the Temple University Digital Collections website. http://digital.library.temple.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15037coll15

Catalog Record
A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: https://librarysearch.temple.edu/catalog/991033910879703811

Research Access
Collection is open for research. Access to medical authorization and consent forms in Series 3 are restricted for 75 years from date of creation. Restrictions, where applicable, are noted at the file level.

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.

Publication and Copyright Information
The Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia 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 Jacob Schools of Philadelphia Records, SCRC 4, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Donated by Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia in 1976 and 1980. Collection previously administered by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, acquired by Temple in June 2009. 

Processing Information
Collection processed and finding aid prepared in 1980 by Lindsay B. Nauen. Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in 2012 by Jessica M. Lydon, Project 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/Family Names:
Cohen Leonard A.
Freifelder, Felix
Gross, Maurice
Popack, Aaron

Corporate Names:
Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia

Jewish day schools
Jewish religious schools--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
Orthodox Judaism

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types:
Bylaws (administrative records)
Minutes (administrative records)
Phonograph records
Sound recordings


Inventory, Beth Jacob Schools of Philadelphia Records

Series 1: Board of Directors, 1952-1974

Box   Folder   Description

1          1          Bylaws          1967, undated

1          2          Correspondence          1953–1960

1          3          Correspondence          September 1960–April 1961

1          4          Correspondence          May-June, 1961, 1965–1966

1          5          Correspondence          June 1966–1968

1          6          Correspondence          1969–1972, undated

1          7          Correspondence to faculty and staff          1966–1972, undated 

1          8          Correspondence to parents          1958–1974, undated

1          9          Membership lists          1959, 1967 

1          10          Meeting minutes          1952–1963


Series 2: Financial Records, 1942–1972

Box   Folder   Description

1          11          Auditor's reports          1959–1972

1          12          Blank forms          undated

1          13          Fundraising          1960–1971

1          14          Miscellaneous financial reports          1952–1960

2          1          Payroll ledger          1949–1950

2          2          Property purchase and insurance          1942–1959, 1970

2          3          Talmudical Academy donations          undated

2          4          Volunteer assignment book for maintenance campaign          1962–1963


Series 3: Day Camp, 1968–1972

Box   Folder   Description

2          5          Correspondence and brochures          1968–1972, undated

2          6          Counselor and camper essays          undated

2          7          Financial agreements, A–G          1971

2          8          Financial agreements, H–Y          1971

2          9          Medical authorization forms (Restricted)          1971

2          10          Medical consent forms (Restricted)         1971

3          1          Registration, A–Y          1971



Series 4: Subject Files, 1949–1976

Box   Folder   Description

3          2          Annual banquet          1958, 1963–1974

3          3          Brochures          1956, 1960, 1963, undated

3          4          Commencement programs          1956–1968

3          5          Enrollment forms          1968–1971

3          6          High School for Girls yearbooks          1966–1968

3          7          LP: “The Girls’ Chamber Choir of Beth Jacob School of Phila. presents Chanukah Music,”          1966

3          8          Lunch menu          undated

3          9          Newspaper clippings          1963–1976

3          10          Parent and staff lists          1960–1971, undated

3          11          Pennsylvania Association of Hebrew Day Schools          1961, 1968, 1970

3          12          Press releases          1965–1974

3          13          School calendar and program notices          1958–1971

3          14          School newsletters          1957, 1960, 1968, undated   

3          15          Scrapbook          1956–1957

3          16          Staff handbook draft          1970

3          17          United Hebrew Schools & Yeshivos of Philadelphia          1949, 1954


Series 5: Photographs, circa 1950–1973

Box   Folder   Description

3          18          Album with class photo of boys grade 1–7          1970–1971

3          19          Annual dinner          1974, undated

3          20          Bernard Levy          undated

3          21          Boys doing sit ups at George Friedland Institute          1960s

3          22          Buying and selling of building at 143 W. Walnut Lane          circa 1954, 1971

3          23          Children playing basketball          undated

3          24          Chanukah celebration          circa 1955

3          25          Children playing in sand          undated

3          26          Choral group          1961

3          27          Class photograph boys grade 5          1968–1969

4          1          Class photograph boys grade 7          1968–1969

4          2          Class photograph girls grade 5          1968–1969

4          3          Class photograph girls grade 5 and 6          1970–1971

4          4          Class photograph girls grade 7          1968–1971

4          5          Class photograph girls grade 8          1970–1971

4          6          Class photograph girls grade 9          1970–1971

4          7          Class photograph girls grade 10          1970–1971

4          8          Class photograph girls grade 11          1970–1971

4          9          Costumed girls          circa 1950

4          10          David Vieth and Susan Strauss          circa 1962

4          11          Exterior of George Friedland Institute          undated

4          12          First class of high school for girls          1963 June

4          13          Founding meeting of Ladies Auxiliary          1958

4          14          George Friedland tribute dinner          1960

4          15          Graduating class          1959, 1961

4          16          Group meeting          undated

4          17          Group with Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits          undated

4          18          Harry Golden at annual dinner          1962

4          19          Interior of Walnut Lane building          circa 1950

4          20          In-class science experiment          1960s

4          21          Irish Counsel of Philadelphia at annual dinner          undated

4          22          Kindergarten class napping at Catherine St. building          circa 1950

4          23          Kindergarten class with Torah          undated

4          24          Kindergarten graduating class          1951, 1955

4          25          Mikveh ribbon cutting ceremony          circa 1960s

4          26          Open air summer class          circa 1968

4          27          Passover celebration          undated

4          28          Rabbi Aaron Popack          undated

4          29          Safety patrol boys          undated

4          30          Samuel Daroff receiving award at annual dinner          1962

4          31          Senior graduating class          1958

4          32          Student group photograph          undated

4          33          Summer camp, Indian Day          circa 1960

4          34          Talent hunt, Rabbi M. Raab with students          1951

4          35          Unidentified group photographs          1965, 1973, undated