Temple B'rith Kodesh

Title: Temple B'rith Kodesh
Date Range: 1848-1972
Location: D.389
Size: 3 boxes

Background Note

Temple B'rith Kodesh was founded on October 9, 1848 as an Orthodox synagogue with 12 members. It is the oldest Jewish congregation and the largest Reform temple in the greater Rochester area. From 1849-1856 the home of Temple B'rith Kodesh was on Front Street. After, the congregation moved into the former church on St. Paul St. By 1894 the congregation had grown to over 250 members and a building was purchased in downtown Rochester on Gibbs Street. During this period, a gradual change from Orthodox to Classical Reform began. Horace J. Wolf, senior rabbi from 1915-1927, was the temple's first rabbi born in the United States. He adovcated the temple as a community house, offering a range of classes. lectures and sporting activities to the entire Jewish community.

When Rabbi Philip Bernstein became Senior Rabbi in 1926, the temple was located on Gibbs Street in the downtown area of Rochester. More traditional observances were adopted by the congregation during his tenure including the return from Sunday services to Friday night and Saturday morning services, traditional High Holy Day observances, and celebration of Bar and Bat Mitzvah traditions.

In 1962, a new Temple B'rith Kodesh was erected on Elmwood Ave. The new temple marked the movement of most B'rith members from the city to the suburbs.
This collection documents the development of Rochester, the influence of World Wars, and the rise of radical reform through the efforts of Isaac Mayer, Susan B. Anthony, Willam Warfield and Stephen S. Wise.

Scope and Contents Note

Included in the collection are financial and marriage reports. It includes writings by Rabbi Wolf and Rabbi Bernstein with travel diaries of Simon N. Stein.


Gift of Temple B'rith Kodesh Museum committee, received May 16, 2005 and January 11, 2006.

Box 1

1. Families-Early Days
2. Financial receipts, bills from buildings on Gibbs St.
3. Estimate of fire damages on temple 1894
4. Financial reports including taxes city and county- 1891-1908
5. Certificates of Marriage 1875-1876, 1898
6. Reports of Marriages1907-December 26, 1911
7. Reports of Marriages December 26, 1911-1925
8. Return of Marriages -1870-1896
9. Rabbi Horace Wolf-Correspondence
10. Works by Rabbi Horace Wolf:

  • Alternative to Bolshevism-April 27th 1919
  • Auction Block-February 7, 1921
  • Barriers to Brotherhood-January 19, 1919
  • The Bok Prize Peace Plan-January, 1924
  • Censorship
  • Challenge of the Hour
  • Congregational Report
  • Crime against Childhood
  • Free Synagogue
  • Hard Times-January 1921
  • Human Cost of War
  • Jewish View of Jesus
11. Works by Rabbi Horace Wolf:
  • Is our civilization collapsing? - April 3, 1921
  • Khi L'Michych shelochani adonoi lfonechem- Menace or Hope?- December 2, 1923
  • Liberal Judaism versus Liberal Christianity-Jan. 12, 1919
  • Life that Counts-March 21, 1920
  • Modern Moloch-January 1924
  • Neighbors-February 26, 1923
  • N.Y. morning-no date
  • Opinions - Ready Made of made to order -March 23, 1922
  • Pharisees, Gentiles etc.- December 7, 1919
  • Poison of Asps
  • The Rabbi as Rabbi
  • The Rabbi as a Social Worker
  • Right Start-no date
  • R.U.R.- March 1923
  • The Relation of Law to Morality
  • Spiritual Perspective - February 14, 1918
  • Strangers- November 9, 1919
  • Unfashionable-March 14, 1920
  • Vision-February 20, 1920
  • Washington's Birthday'20- February 22, 1920
  • Wastrels-no date
  • Which is best Religion? December 3, 1922
12.Works by Rabbi Horace Wolf:
  • Summary of Declarations on Social Justice by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1920-1922
  • Miscellaneous, dates
13. Works by Rabbi Horace Wolf

Box 2:

1. Memorials for Rabbi Wolf
2. Jewish Societies
3. Lillian Ward
4. Reverend Max S. Moll
5. Women in History by Frances Lampert
6. Mount Hope Cemetery
7. Works by Rabbi Philip Bernstein:
  • Israel in Danger ~ Not in Jeopardy
  • Reflections on the Founding Fathers
  • Role of Brotherhood in 1946
  • What do we owe our Dead?
  • Our Sacred Heritage
  • Letter dated August 1960
8. Works concerning Rabbi Phillip Bernstein-include small photograph
9. Sister City Charter- Rehovot-Rochester-Rochester
10. Henry M. Seligman Masonic -Certificate
11. Floral Album and Recipe Book-1871-1875
12. Travel Diaries of Samuel Stein, 1895, 1905

Box 3 (oversize)

Samuel Stein-Book of Psalms