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Temple Sinai records

Identifier: LaRC-243

Scope and Contents

The Temple Sinai Collection contains the history of the first Reform congregation in New Orleans. Series 1 contains the founding records of the Temple, its organization in 1870 and the building of the first Temple on Carondelet Street. While there are many images of the exterior, the only image of the interior (the Altar) is in the Sisterhood records. Series 1 continues with World War I, the building of the new Temple on Saint Charles Ave., struggles during the depression,World War II, and events into 2000s. There are programs, correspondence, photographs, biographies of Rabbis, building dedications and anniversary events. Series 2 contains board minutes and annual reports, from the original Constitution and by-laws in 1870 until 1994. This is an extensive source of day by day historical material. Series 3 contains a collection of Temple Sinai Bulletins from 1969-2003. Earlier bulletins are scattered in Founding Records. Series 4 contains Religious School materials, including Confirmation programs and photographs, and a list of confirmants from 1872 on. Series 5 has small collections of personal papers of Rabbi Julian B. Feibelman 1939-1980; Henry Bach Jacobs, Temple Sinai organist; Rabbi Murray Blackman, and Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn. Series 6 is Photographs. There are historic photographs, of Rabbi James K. Gutheim and his wife, Rabbi Max Heller, Rabbi Julian B. Feibelman, Operation Understanding, and many others. There is a collection of photographs of modern events taken by Jerry Strug from Yvonne Strug's scrapbooks. Series 7 is Miscellaneous, with lists of converts 1947-1972, a Civil Defense File, tapes and artifacts. Series 8 is an extensive collection of Temple Sinai Sisterhood, founded in 1900. Historic material contains, among other photographs, the only image of the interior of the Carondolet Street Temple, with an "Altar Play" in progress 1926. A history of the sisterhood by Yvonne Strug is included in Box 47, which is cataloged folder by folder from 1900 to 1950s. The rest of the boxes are records, programs, rosters, some minutes, and affiliation with The National and Louisiana Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.


  • Creation: 1870-2003


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. No known restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

The first organized synagogues in New Orleans followed the Orthodox rituals. By 1861 a committee was appointed to encourage the Reform Movement. Delayed by the Civil War, the project continued in 1869 and in 1870 Temple Sinai was founded. The new Temple, built on Carondelet between Calliope and Deloard, was dedicated in 1872; James K. Gutheim was elected Rabbi and I. L. Leucht was elected Reader.

After Rabbi Gutheim’s sudden death in 1886, he was succeeded by Rabbi Max Heller. Heller spearheaded a campaign to build a new Temple uptown. His successor, Rabbi Louis Binstock, continued that effort and dedicated the current Temple at St. Charles Avenue and Calhoun Street in 1928.

Binstock was succeeded by Rabbi Julian B. Feibelman in 1936. Under his leadership Temple Sinai became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1949, when no other auditorium was available for an unsegregated audience, Rabbi Feibelman offered Temple Sinai as a venue for a speech by Ralph Bunche.

Feibelman was succeeded by Rabbi Roy Rosenberg in 1967, who was himself succeeded by Rabbi Murray Blackman in 1970. In 1987, Edward Paul Cohn became Rabbi. During his tenure, Temple Sinai hired its first Cantor in a century, the Holocaust Memorial was installed on the riverfront, and the Temple survived the crises of KKK leader David Duke and Hurricane Katrina.


36.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Access Requirements

Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection. Copyright laws are retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Processing Information

Collection processed and finding aid information entered into Archon by Cathy Kahn in 2014-2015.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Rebecca Clark and Catherine C. Kahn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US