Rabbi Isador Signer, Papers

  • Dates: 1924-1949
  • Size: .2 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 1/2
  • Languages:
    • English
    • Hebrew
  • Location: Special Collections Reading Room, Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Restrictions: Reproduction of fragile items is not permitted; consult the archivist about literary rights.
  • Gift Of: Mrs. Edya Arzt
  • Date: April 17, 1991

MCS, 7/26/94

Table of Contents:

A Note on Folder Headings

Individual folders are identified in the following way on the left side of each folder: Name of Collection, box #/folder#, as in Ben Zion Bokser Papers, 4/22. Please use this format in citations and when referring to files for any other reason.

Biographical Note

 [see caption]
Rabbi Isador Signer leads services at the Coast Guard Station at Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, NY, late forties. Photographer: National Youth Administration Photography Workshop.

Rabbi Isador Signer was the longtime leader of Temple Beth El in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, New York. Born in Romania, he was brought to Canada at the age of eight months by his emigrating parents. Although he received no formal Hebrew education as a youth, attending neither Hebrew School nor Talmud Torah, he was taught by his father and entered The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1917. Rabbi Signer graduated form the Seminary in 1924, having also earned degrees from the City College of New York and Columbia University's Teachers College. Rabbi Signer's first congregation was Temple B'nai B'rith in Somerville, Massachusetts. He later moved to Beth El in Manhattan Beach where he also headed the Hebrew school. During World War II, Signer served as a chaplain and was stationed in Illinois.

Collection Description

The papers of Rabbi Isador Signer consist of photocopies of selected documents from his early career, and a group of photographs. The photocopies are of sermons from the 1920s and 1930s; a play The Latke and the Hamantasch, written by Signer; naming certificates from1941for newborns at Temple Beth El; several lectures; a newspaper profile of Signer from 1945; and a pamphlet from Temple B'nai B'rith, 1925. A small amount of correspondence is included in the collection, including letters from Signer to newborn children welcoming them into his congregation.

The eleven photographs, 1924-1949, show Signer as a military chaplain, at Beth El and Jewish Theological Seminary events, and with others. Of note is a picture of members of the Beth El sisterhood in costume for a play, ca. 1940s. Descriptions of the photographs have been added to the Ratner Center photograph collection. A few additional photographs from Beth El have been separately added to the photograph collection.

Box List

Box  Folder(s) Description 
1 B'nai B'rith pamphlet, 1925
 2 Certificate, Rabbi Isador Signer Award, n.d.
 3 The Latke and the Hamantasch, n.d.
 4 Lectures, 1928; n.d.
 5 Letters, 1948; n.d.
 6 Naming certificates, 1941
 7 Newspaper article: "Rabbi Signer, Recently Returned Army Chaplain Says Christians Will Respond to an Ethical Interpretation of Zionism," 1945
 8 Photographs, 1924-1949
 9-11  Sermons, n.d.