Historical Note

Scope and Content

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Acquisition Info

Processing Info

Separated Material

Related Material

Inventory   [ + ]

Subject Terms

Guide to the Temple De Hirsch Sinai Records

Accession No.: 2370-018
Creator: Temple De Hirsch Sinai (Seattle, Wash.) , creator
Title: Temple De Hirsch Sinai Records
Date Span: 1883-2001
Bulk: 1899-1986
Quantity: 12.73 cubic ft. (29 boxes, 1 tube, and 1 oversize vertical file)
Languages: Collection materials in English.
From a pamphlet celebrating the dedication of the Temple Center, 1924. Special Collections, UW Libraries, UW23493z

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the first and largest Jewish Reform congregation in Seattle, was founded in 1899 by a group of 70 area families. Originally named Temple de Hirsch after Jewish philanthropist Baron de Hirsch, the congregation was renamed after merging with Temple Sinai of Bellevue, Wash., in 1971.

The location for the first proposed sanctuary of Temple De Hirsch Sinai was Boylston Avenue and Marion Street in Seattle, and a cornerstone containing the congregation’s founding documents and other time capsule materials was laid there in 1901. However, after rapid growth of the congregation warranted a larger facility, this site was abandoned in favor of Union Street and 15th Avenue, where the first sanctuary was completed in 1907. In 1924 the adjacent Temple Center was built to house the new Religion School and other subordinate organizations. Steady growth required further expansion, and in 1951, an addition for the school was built next to the Temple Center. By 1959, sufficient funds had been raised to build a new sanctuary, and although many Jewish families were moving into suburban areas, the congregation chose to keep a central location in downtown Seattle. A new temple with a 1000-member capacity was built on the corner of 16th Avenue and Pike Street in 1960, located on the same block as the original sanctuary, which was eventually demolished in 1993.

The first spiritual leader of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Rabbi Theodore Joseph from Lancaster, Pa., oversaw the establishment of the religious school in 1899, which began with an enrollment of 65 students.

Rabbi Samuel Koch, senior rabbi from 1906 to 1942, established Temple De Hirsch Sinai as an important and steadily expanding congregation. Particularly committed to the growth and development of the Religion School, he welcomed all students, regardless of whether their parents were Reform Jews. Koch was also civically active, with memberships in or associations with numerous Seattle agencies and organizations. In 1909 he established the congregation's newsletter,Temple Tidings, initially a weekly and later a monthly publication. Koch became Rabbi Emeritus on his retirement.

Rabbi Raphael Levine, senior rabbi from 1942 to 1970, developed many ecumenical programs, including “Challenge,” a television program he co-hosted with a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister. Addressing theological issues from different schools of religious thought, “Challenge” ran on local station for 14 years, appearing first on KOMO-TV and later on KING-TV. Levine was the founder of Camp Brotherhood, a religious, educational, and cultural center for Christians and Jews, and a co-founder of Camp Swig, an educational and recreational camp for Jewish youth. He served on boards and committees for many social service organizations and related groups, and founded the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.

Rabbi Earl Stanton Starr, senior rabbi from 1970 to 2001, perpetuated the temple's long tradition of community service and outreach through his involvement in a wide variety of organizations, boards and committees.

Samuel Goldfarb, composer of the well-known Chanukah song “I Have a Little Dreidl,” was music director of Temple De Hirsch Sinai from 1930 to 1968. He employed a system of training his singers based on the farm system in baseball, advancing children into higher choir “leagues” as they matured. Under Goldfarb’s direction, the temple's choirs were considered among the finest in the country.

Long-standing organizations within Temple De Hirsch Sinai include the Sisterhood, formerly the Ladies Auxiliary, which was established a few months after the congregation was founded, and the Brotherhood, formerly the Temple Men’s Club, established in 1920. Both groups organize, sponsor, and promote services and activities for the Temple De Hirsch Sinai congregation and the Jewish community.

Scope and Content

The records span 1883 to 2001 and document the establishment and growth of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. The bulk of the unpublished records begin in 1899 and end in about 1986. Correspondence, committee meeting minutes, newsletters, and reports reports are the primary record series. In addition to regular temple operations, the records also represent related programs and organizations such as the Temple Men’s Club, the Ladies Auxiliary, and the Religion School.

The earliest records are the former contents of the strongbox placed in the cornerstone of the uncompleted sanctuary in 1901. They include membership lists of the congregation Bikur Cholim, the Seattle section of the 1900 Council of Jewish Women, and B’nai B’rith Lodge 342, along with ephemera such as newspapers, programs, and maps of Seattle. Other items, including confirmation programs, dedication programs, and photographs of early congregation member and philanthropist Caroline Kline Galland, were added after the strongbox was opened.

Correspondence is largely comprised of Rabbi Koch’s general correspondence from 1917 to 1918. Topics addressed include visits from Zionist speakers, the need for a Jewish children’s home, support for U.S. troops abroad, and cooperation with the Sephardic congregation Ezra Bessaroth to organize a fundraising bazaar.

Minutes, dating from 1899 to 1984, provide extensive information on temple activities from over twenty committees and subcommittees, including the Cemetery Committee, the Library Committee, and the Merger Committee. The latter documented meetings on the merger of Temple de Hirsch and Temple Sinai, organizations that are also described in annual reports from 1959 to 1976, included in the records.

Issues of Temple Tidings, the newsletter of the Temple De Hirsch Sinai, span 1941 to 2001. This bulletin contains a calendar listing temple events, member information such as lists of new members, marriages, births and deaths, and a message from the senior rabbi. Rabbi Koch’s card file, another abundant source of member information, includes names of members and dates of births, deaths, marriages, bar mitzvahs, and other data recorded on index cards. Some of the files were kept current through the 1970s.

The "Rituals" series contains mainly printed material for services, such as song and prayer books, as well as programs from bar mitzvahs and confirmations. Other materials documenting temple events over the years include the series "Speeches and Writings of Others," which contains biographical sketches of congregants involved in temple administration.

The subgroup “Helen Rucker” contains copies of news clippings, photographs, and notes about early Jewish pioneers in Seattle, including Sarah Rucker, the first Jewish child born in Seattle in 1869, and merchants Maurice and Julius Bornstein.

Other highlights include the 1916 and 1925 editions of the Famous Cookbook of the Ladies Auxiliary, containing hundreds of traditional recipes provided by its members.

Although sermons are not included in these records, the papers of Raphael Levine, also in the repository, contain many of his sermons.

Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

Some restrictions exist on duplication, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.

Acquisition Info

The records in Accession 2370-18 are a merger of numerous installments received from various Temple De Hirsch Sinai offices between 1974 and 1994.

Processing Info

Record installments were merged and processed in 2001.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Jewish History Project photograph collection in the repository.

Related Material

See also the Raphael H. Levine Papers, 1889-1985, and the Samuel Koch Papers, 1902-1962, in the repository. Levine and Koch were senior rabbis at the temple. The repository also holds the Helen Rucker Papers, 1900-1967, which complement the Helen Rucker subgroup included in these records.


Historical Features
1/175th Anniversary Journal 1974
1/290th Anniversary Journal 1989
1/3Historical Account1949, 1955
1/4-6Miscellaneous1949, 1969-1974, n.d.

Organizational Features
1/7Bylaws 1956
1/8-10Miscellaneous1961-1984, n.d.

Incoming Letters
1/11Central Conference of American Rabbis1918
1/11Chamberlain, E. Mary1927, 1971
1/12The Educational Center, Seattle, Wash.1917
1/12Friedenthal, Sol1917
1/13Hardman, Walter1956
1/13Jewish Board for Welfare Work in the United States Army and Navy 1917
1/14Jewish Federation and Council of Greater Seattle1972
1/14KBBX FM1971
1/15Koupa Ezra Besarath of Rhodes1917
1/15The Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society1917-1918
1/16Lang, Julius C.1917
1/16Levy, Aubrey1918
1/16Levy, Robert1918
1/17Lowenthal, Marvin1917
1/17Marsh & McLennan1956
1/18Pacific Picture Frame Companyn.d.
1/18Palmer, F.S.1917
1/19Pickard, Henry1918
1/19Saperstein, Mrs. H.1927
1/20Schwabacher, Sam1917
1/20Seattle Hebrew Benevolent Society1918
1/21Shur, Bonia1967
1/21Spring, Coral H.1917
1/22The Union of American Hebrew Congregations1918
1/22University of Washington Libraries1972
1/22Weissberg, Albert O.1988

1/25-32Outgoing Letters1900-1902; 1917-1956; 1977-1994

1/33Interorganizational Correspondence1916-1918

General Correspondence Of
1/34-35Koch, Samuel1917-1918
1/36Starr, Earl Stanton1978-1979

1/37Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1899-1903
2/1-3Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1903-1912
3/1-4Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1912-1934
4/1-9Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1934-1954
5/1-9Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1955-1962
6/1-9Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1963-1968
7/1-5Trustees and Members of Temple de Hirsch1969-1984
7/6Annual Meeting of Congregation Temple de Hirsch1956
7/7Annual Meetings1959-1979
7/8Meetings of the Congregation1956
7/9Special Meeting of the Congregation1956
7/10Ad hoc Committee to Preserve the Old Sanctuary and to Develop the Pacific Northwest Jewish Museum1983
7/11Art / Museum Acquisition Committee1971-1979
7/12-13, 8/1-2Board of Trustees. Executive Committee1969-1984
8/3Dues and Collections Committee1972
8/4Dues Evaluation Committeen.d.
8/5Executive Staff Meetings1966-1971
8/6Finance Committee1958
8/7-8House Committee1966-1979
8/9Meeting of Building Committee Chairmen, Subcommittee Chairmen, and Members1956
8/10Memorials and Bequests Committee1966-1972
8/11New Temple Building Committee. Construction Subcommittee1956
8/12Past Presidents’ Meetings1975-1980
8/13Planning Committee of the New Temple Building Campaign1956
8/14Publicity and Public Relations Committee1969-1977
8/15-16Religion School Committee1969-1979
8/17-18Rituals Committee (includes Divine Services Committee)1966-1979
9/1Social Action Committee1963-1979
9/2Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the New Temple Building Campaign1956
9/3Youth Activities Committee1970-1979

Subject Series
9/4-580th Anniversary 1980
10/1-31901 Cornerstone Time Capsule1883-1902
11/1Brotherhood Events 1983-1984
11/3Caroline Kline Galland Bequest1916-1917
11/4Memorial Book1955; 1972-1973
11/5Museum Art Shows1975, 1981; undated
11/6New Temple Building1955, 1960; undated.
11/7-10Temple Building Fund Campaign1955-1960; undated
11/11Testimonial Dinner Honoring Rabbi Raphael H. Levine1967

11/12-16 Temple Tidings (unbound)1941-1965, 1975-1978
12/1-23 Temple Tidings (unbound)1979-2001
13 Temple Tidings (bound) (msg. Vol. 34)1909-1936
14 Temple Tidings (bound) (msg. Vol. 43) 1936-1953
15 Temple Tidings (bound)1953-1964
16 Temple Tidings (bound) (msg. vols. 57-59) 1964-1973
17/1-5 Temple Tidings (bound) 1974-1979
12/24Synagogue Serviceundated

Card Files
18Active Membersca. 1920s-1970s
Scope and Content: Includes names, addresses, dates of birth, marriages, children’s birth dates, bar mitzvahs and weddings, and death dates of parents and grandparents.
19Contribution Cardsca. 1900-1927
20Deaths and Conversionsca. 1900-1927
21Inactive Membersca. 1920s-1970s
Scope and Content: Includes names, addresses, dates of birth, marriages, children’s birth dates, bar mitzvahs and weddings, and death dates of parents and grandparents.
22Index to Temple Tidings (M-Z)ca. 1900-1927
23Marriagesca. 1900-1927

24/1-3Membership Rosters1973, 1978-1982

Financial Records
24/4Annual Financial Reports1946-1947
24/5Annual Report of Treasurer1916-1917
24/6-8Bills, Receipts, Statements1915-1918
24/9Bond: Fred C. PotterNov. 24, 1916
24/12Financial Reports1958-1960
24/14Memorial Fund1917-1918
24/15Petty Cash Receipts1917-1918
24/17Statements of Values for Buildings and Equipment1955-1956
24/19Temple Seats1918
24/20-21Miscellaneous1912-1924, 1956-1959

24/22A Brief Jewish Ritual1921
24/23Bar - Bat Mitzvahs1967-1979
24/24Blessings and Songsundated
24/26-27Prayers1895, 1973
24/28Songs and Prayers ca. 1989

24/29-30Annual Reports1959-1976
24/31War Savings Stamps Sales1918

24/32Bar Mitzvahs 1978-1979
24/33Confirmations1900-1937, 1959-1976
24/34Dedications1908-1924, 1965-1976
24/35Dinners to Honor Prominent Temple Members1942, 1967-1976
24/36-37Temple de Hirsch Graduate School Commencement1921-1937, 1948-1976
24/38Productions1934, 1971-1980, undated
24/39Temple Anniversaries1924, 1949, 1969
24/40-41Temple Services1913, 1939, 1969-1984
24/42VIP Dinners1981-1985


24/44Home Holiday Guide1975
25/1 Touro Synagogue of Congregation Jeshuat Israel, Newport, R.I.1948

Speeches and Writings
25/3Writings1981, undated

Speeches and Writings of Others
25/4Biographies written by Temple de Hirsch Congregants1974, undated


25/6Annual Meeting Nominations to the Board of Trustees1918

25/7Annual Meetings1912-1919

25/8News Releases1986, undated

25/9Calendar of Events 1984-1985

25/10Music1923, undated

41908 Certificate of Confirmation    OVERSIZE1908

4Bikur Cholim Membership List    OVERSIZEundated
25/12Miscellaneous1969, undated

Receipt Books
25/13Yahrzeit Plaque1934-1942

25/14New Temple1959

25/15New Temple1955
25/16-20Miscellaneous1917, 1938, 1949, 1955-1985, undated

25/21-22Ephemera1924-1938, 1969-1996, undated

Floor Plans
29Temple Sinai1969

25/23Adult Education Committee1967-1984

Bylaws Committee
25/24General Correspondence1970-1980, undated
25/26Lists – Membership1970-1972, 1981
25/27Speeches and Writings – Revisions to Bylaws1972, undated

Cemetery Committee
25/31Incoming Letters1917-1918
25/32Outgoing Letters1917-1918
25/33-35Minutes1956, 1965-1979
Financial Records
25/36Burial Charges1916, 1918, undated
25/37Policies, Rules, and Regulations Governing the Operation of Hills of Eternity Cemetery and Home of Peace Mausoleum1982
Speeches and Writings
25/38Esfeld, Solca. 1965
25/39Purchase of Plot or Grave – Hills of Eternity (bound)1910-1932
25/40Plots Available and Soldundated

Ladies Auxiliary
26/1Outgoing Letters1918
Financial Records
30Account Books – Dues    OVERSIZE1920-1931
26/5Financial Secretary Reports1926-1928
26/6-8Cookbooks1916, 1925, 1986

Library Committee
26/10Catalogues – Temple de Hirsch Graduate School1925-1937

Membership Committee
26/11Incoming Letters – A-Z1917-1918, undated
26/12Outgoing Letters1918
26/13General Correspondence – re: Application Requests1917-1918
26/15Reports 1955-1956

Men’s Club
26/18Organizational Features – Articles of Incorporation1950
Incoming Letters
26/19National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods1947-1950, undated
26/20Miscellaneous1947-1950, 1959
26/21-22Outgoing Letters1946-1950
26/23Brotherhood Board1976-1979
26/24-26Men’s Club1945-1949
Speeches and Writings
26/27President’s Messageundated
Financial Records
26/29-30Annual Financial Reports1946-1949
26/31Proposed Budget1949-1950
26/32Treasurer’s Statement1947-1948
26/3411th Biennial Convention of the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods1946
26/3513th Biennial Convention of the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods and Jewish Chautauqua1950
26/36Annual Reports1934-1935
26/37Nominating Committee1950
26/39Programs1949-1950, undated
26/42Notes1949, undated
26/43Ephemera1949-1950, undated

26/44Merger Committee1970

27/1Personnel Practices Committee1967-1975

27/2Planning Committee1961-1976

Religion School
27/3-13, 28/1-5Chronological Files1947-1954, 1968-1986, undated
Scope and Content: Includes class lists, correspondence, yearbooks, and financial material.
28/6-11Family Lists1972-1978
28/12-13Family Lists and Teacher Rosters1978-1980

28/15Special Projects Committee1979

28/16Rucker, Helen1869-1996, 1955-1968, undated

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Koch, Samuel, 1874-1944.
Levine, Raphael H., 1901-
Rucker, Helen.
Starr, Earl S., 1931-
Temple De Hirsch Sinai (Seattle, Wash.)--Archives.
Temple Sinai (Bellevue, Wash.)
Temple de Hirsch (Seattle, Wash.), creator.
Temple de Hirsch (Seattle, Wash.)--Archives.
Temple de Hirsch (Seattle, Wash.). Ladies' Auxiliary.
Temple de Hirsch (Seattle, Wash.). Sisterhood.
Civic leaders--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Cookery, Jewish.
Jewish religious schools--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Jews--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Rabbis--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Reform Judaism--Washington (State)
Synagogues--Washington (State)--Seattle.
Genre Headings:
Temple tidings.
Last modified: January 28, 2011
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