Guide to the Records of Temple Emanuel Collection, Andover, Massachusetts 1939-2001; and Part II (addendum), undated 1952-2004
*I-442 and I-442A

Part I processed by Molly Alexander and Part II processed by Michelle Interrante.

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on November 15, 2006. Part II (addendum) added, and information updated by Christine McEvilly on November 6, 2013. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Temple Emanuel (Andover, Mass.)
Creator: Roth, Harry A. and Lillian Roth
Title: Temple Emanuel (Andover, Mass.) records
Abstract: Temple Emanuel was founded in 1920 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It began by serving a small immigrant Jewish community that has since grown to an affluent and lively congregation of about 600 families. This growth occurred largely under the tenure of Rabbi Harry A. Roth, who lead the congregation from 1962 until 1990 and oversaw the temple’s move to Andover, Massachusetts. This collection includes correspondence, photographs, and sermons.
Languages: The collection is in English and Hebrew.
Quantity: 1.0 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes) and Addendum of 6 linear feet (4 document boxes, 1 oversized box)
Identification: I-442
Identification: I-442A
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located at AJHS, Boston, MA.
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Historical Note

Temple Emanuel1

Founded with thirty members on July 7, 1920 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Temple Emanuel faithfully served the local Jewish community of the Merrimack Valley. Those thirty founding members soon grew to seventy, filling up the small temple, whose structures then consisted of a mansion house and a barn. The barn was repurposed into a sanctuary, replete with bima and ark—and accented by the still-visible hayloft and benches taken from a local railway depot. The mansion house held a social parlor, as well as a suite for the janitor and his wife.

The community was largely one of immigrants. The majority spoke Yiddish and broken English, and was further united by Temple Emanuel. The temple was more than just the center for religious life, as the members also found themselves drawn to the temple for social reasons. There were some members who came from enough distance to have to drive or take a trolley, but the vast majority came from the immediate area surrounding the temple. The popularity and ultimate success of Temple Emanuel seemed to stem from its break from Orthodox traditions. The Temple had a choir and an organ. The Rabbi was clean-shaven and performed sermons in English, and the temple allowed women and men to sit together.

As the Jewish community in Lawrence grew, new renovations on the temple’s structures became more and more necessary. As would be a trend with Temple Emanuel, its leadership anticipated new growth. In 1938, renovations provided the temple with a larger social hall and new kitchen in the mansion house, and expanded seating in the barn. Once the renovations were complete, the temple saw a bump in membership. The increase was a result of both social mobility during World War II and the nation-wide impulse to populate the suburbs of major American cities.

While overall membership rose, the temple and surrounding Jewish centers saw their professional and lay workforce depleted due to the demands of the war. There were not enough people qualified to teach the Sunday schools. To remedy this problem, Temple Emanuel’s Sunday school made a series of mergers with other local Jewish institutions. In 1940, the temple merged with the Orthodox Synagogue Hebrew Schools, and in 1945 with the YMHA to form the Lawrence Jewish School.

Another membership increase came after the war (the Temple had 166 members by 1955), and lead to the construction of a new temple in 1957. During this period, the temple experienced a theological shift. It had, until this point, represented a liberal Conservative congregation, but by the 1960s was a part of the Reform tradition—now officially a member of the Union of Reform Judaism. The next rebuild came in November of 1979. The new temple was built in neighboring Andover, Massachusetts, which had seen a dramatic increase in its Jewish population and was already the site of the temple cemetery built in 1941. The final addition to the new temple was the Elayne Kessel Memorial Wing, dedicated in 1999.

Rabbi Roth was installed in 1962, and his leadership would make Temple Emanuel one of the largest Jewish congregations in the Merrimack Valley. At the time of his retirement, the temple’s congregation numbered over 400 families. Rabbi Roth’s other interests included the case of Russian “Refuseniks,” mostly Russian Jews, who were denied exit visas and, for attempting to leave the country, were also fired from their jobs and living in dire conditions. Rabbi Roth was involved with the ecumenicalism that swept through Christian communities following the Second Vatican Council, and this community outreach to the local Christian community was represented by a combined trip to Israel. Upon Rabbi Roth’s retirement, Cardinal Bernard Law spoke to the congregation. Rabbi Roth retired from Temple Emanuel in 1990, and was named Rabbi Emeritus. Therefore, the collection contains materials that extend beyond his retirement, as he was called back to Temple Emanuel for various special occasions and speaking engagements. The Roths currently reside in Los Angeles, California.


1920 Founding of Temple Emanuel in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
1938 First renovation to temple structures.
1941 Completion of temple cemetery.
1947 Dedication of temple cemetery.
1957 Construction of new temple.
1962 Rabbi Harry A. Roth installed as rabbi.
1979 Relocation of Temple Emanuel to Andover, Massachusetts.
1990 Rabbi Roth retires.
1999 Dedication of the Elayne Kessel Memorial Wing.
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Scope and Content Note

This collection is a wide range of materials accumulated by Rabbi Harry A. Roth while he was rabbi of Temple Emanuel from 1962-1990. Please see Part I, Collection Scope and Content Note below for information on the original collection materials that were first donated to the AJHS. Please see the Part II, Scope and Content Note below for information on the addendum materials donated at a later date.

The history of a small Massachusetts temple and the role its congregation played in local society is the most obvious subject of research for this collection. However, local genealogists and religious students will be interested in the eulogies as sources of personal history and as examples of an important part of a religious ceremony.

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The collection has been arranged into six series and an addendum of five series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Related Material

Synagogue Council of Massachusetts,1-454 (unprocessed)

Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, 1-56, 1-56A

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Donated by Rabbi Harry A. Roth, Rabbi of Temple Emanuel from 1962-1990. Addendum donated by him in 2004.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Temple Emanuel (Andover, Mass.) Records; I-442 and I-442A; part number; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

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Access Points:

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to learn more about viewing materials at the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.


Part I: Temple Emanuel, undated 1939-2001

Scope and Content:

This section of the collection includes budgets, confirmation class lists, correspondence, prayer books, maps, newspaper clippings, programs for various celebrations and some photos and slides. The bulk of the collection is eulogies written by Rabbi Harry A. Roth and delivered at Temple Emanuel. Some of the eulogies in the collection are from his previous assignment in Ohio and a few were written by different people. Some materials pre-date his tenure as rabbi, such as a program for the grand opening of the new temple in Lawrence in 1957. Other materials post-date his tenure, most notably the 75th anniversary materials.

Part I, Series I: Organizational Records, undated, 1950-1995

Box 1 (Folders 1 to 8).

Alphabetical and chronological.

Scope and Content:

This series has a wide range of materials that show the broad scope of activities that Temple Emanuel was involved in both within the Jewish community and the larger Lawrence/Andover community. The series includes such materials as budgets, confirmation class lists, phone lists, 50th and 75th anniversary memorabilia, programs for benedictions, dedications and celebrations, and Rabbi Harry A. Roth's rolodex. The rolodex and confirmation class lists contain information about members of the congregation.

1150th Anniversary1970request_box
1275th Anniversary1995request_box
13Benedictions and Dedications1963-1984request_box
16Confirmation class lists1950-1993request_box
17Membership lists1985-1989request_box

Part I, Series II: Eulogies, undated, 1955-1994

Box 1 (Folder 9) to Box 2 (Folder 5).

Alphabetical and reverse chronological order.

Scope and Content:

This series composes the bulk of the collection. There are eulogies that have no name or no date, eulogies written by Rabbi Roth and delivered at Temple Emanuel, eulogies written by Rabbi Roth while in Ohio or elsewhere, and eulogies written by people other than Rabbi Roth. The eulogies are in different formats, some are typed and some are handwritten. They are written on a variety of paper, note cards, scrap paper and most have some Hebrew writing. The Temple Emanuel eulogies are arranged in reverse chronological order. Rabbi Roth had a folder just for Sheila Zetlin's eulogy written in 1990, all of the material in that folder is now in the folder labeled 1990.

19Eulogies missing name or dateundatedrequest_box
110Temple Emanuel eulogies1990-1991request_box
111Temple Emanuel eulogies1988-1989request_box
112Temple Emanuel eulogies1987request_box
113Temple Emanuel eulogies1985-1986request_box
114Temple Emanuel eulogies1983-1984request_box
115Temple Emanuel eulogies1980-1982request_box
116Temple Emanuel eulogies1977-1979request_box
117Temple Emanuel eulogies1975-1976request_box
118Temple Emanuel eulogies1973-1974request_box
21Temple Emanuel eulogies1970-1972request_box
22Temple Emanuel eulogies1967-1969request_box
23Temple Emanuel eulogies1962-1966request_box
24Eulogies from Ohio or other placesundated, 1955-1960request_box
25Eulogies by other individualsundated, 1966-1994request_box

Part I, Series III: Correspondence, undated, 1957-2001

Box 2 (Folder 6).
Scope and Content:

This series is composed of correspondence between Rabbi Harry A. Roth and Rabbi Rudavsky (Rabbi Roth's predecessor at Temple Emanuel), condolence letters; thank you notes from bereaved families to Rabbi Roth for his assistance, and correspondence regarding the donation of the collection, and other correspondence. The letters between Rabbi Roth and Rabbi Rudavsky give insight into the workings of the different temple organizations and members of the congregation from Rabbi Rudavsky's point of view.

26Correspondenceundated, 1957-2001request_box

Part I, Series IV: Prayer Books, 1939-1943

Box 2 (Folder 7).
Scope and Content:

This series is composed of four prayer books; The Book of Psalms (circa 1939), Prayer Book: New Year and Day of Atonement (circa 1943), Readings from the Holy Scriptures for Jewish soldiers and sailors (circa 1942), and Prayer Book (circa 1943). The National Jewish Welfare Board published the three latter books for Jews in the United States armed forces.

27Prayer Books1939-1943request_box

Part I, Series V: Subject Files, undated, 1967-1990

Box 2 (Folders 8 to 13).

Alphabetical and chronological.

Scope and Content:

This series is composed of an honorary degree awarded to Rabbi Roth by Merrimack College, local Massachusetts maps and maps of Israel and the Middle East, newspaper clippings that are mostly obituaries of congregation members, and resources for writing eulogies, e.g. appropriate quotes to include in a eulogy. It also includes two resources, Apples and Honey: a handbook to understand, enjoy, and participate in the High Holy Day services by Rabbi Alex Goldman (circa 1980), and Guide to Jewish Boston and New England by Steven Feldman and the staff of Genesis 2 (circa 1986).

28Local maps of Massachusettsundated, 1976-1982request_box
29Maps of Israel and the Middle Eastundated, 1967-1972request_box
210Merrimack College honorary degree - Newspaper clippings1967-1990request_box
211Resource file #11980request_box
212Resource file #21986request_box
213Resources for eulogiesundated, 1975request_box

Part I, Series VI: Audio-Visual, undated, 1964-1990

Box 2 (Folders 14 to 16).


Scope and Content:

This series is composed of photos from a NAACP dinner in 1968, photos taken by the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune from 1964-1990, and slides from a trip to Israel that Rabbi Roth led in 1974. The slides appear to be in two sets, one to be used in a presentation, and the other of more tourist interest.

214Lawrence Eagle-Tribune photos1964-1990request_box
215NAACP dinner photos1968request_box
216Slides of trip to Israel1974request_box
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Part II: Temple Emanuel, undated, 1952-2004

Scope and Content:

Part II of the Temple Emanuel Collection contains administrative records, correspondence, sermons, media, and publications collected by Rabbi Harry A. Roth, the temple's rabbi from 1962-1990. Audio and visual materials document the Rabbi's delivered sermons and record various temple celebrations. Correspondence is extensive and varied, mostly letters of thanks to Rabbi Roth for his support and spiritual guidance, but notably contains an extended correspondence with Thayer Warshaw, with whom he authored a short book, Russian Refuseniks: Their Plight, Their Plea, also included in the collection. Temple history, as well as a temple-published history of local Jewish families, is made available through various publications and pamphlets. The intricacies of taking on a new rabbi are also documented through the revisions of Rabbi Roth's contracts and salary, which continue even after his retirement. A look into temple life is provided by the sermon notes and delivered sermons Rabbi Roth collected, and the attention he devoted to his congregation is made even more apparent by the extensive use of appointment books.

Part II, Series I: Audiovisuals, undated, 1983-1998

Box 1

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains various recordings from High Holy Day services and temple celebrations. The cassettes contain recordings of guest speakers, such as Rabbi Alexander Schindler and Cardinal Bernard Law. Video recordings include milestones in Rabbi Roth's service to Temple Emanuel, as well as scenes from his retirement party in 1990. The collection also extends beyond the scope of his tenure as rabbi, with video from Rabbi Roth and Lillian Roth's 50th wedding anniversary in 1994. The collection contains one CD, an unpublished opera by Hadassah Pomeroy, entitled “Tears.”

1 Cassettes and CDs of Sermons undated, 1983-1990 request_box
1 VHS of Temple Celebrations undated, 1985-1995 request_box

Part II, Series II: Correspondence, undated, 1964-2004

Box 2

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series details correspondence to and from Rabbi Roth. Many are thank you notes or contributions to his retirement fund. It becomes clear though this extensive correspondence the importance of the rabbi to his congregation and the many ways he endeavored to help them, be it through his words during a difficult time or recommendations for rabbinical school. An extended correspondence between the rabbi and Thayer Warshaw is included. Warshaw was a temple member who took extraordinary interest in theological pursuits and co-wrote a short book, Russian Refuseniks with Rabbi Roth, also included in this series.

2 1-3 General undated, 1964-2004 request_box
2 4 Thayer Warshaw 1984-1998 request_box

Part II, Series III: Procedures and Actions, undated, 1962-2003

Box 2

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series documents the various internal operations of Temple Emanuel, as well as a wide array of photographs. Notable here is the considerable back and forth represented by the rabbi's many different versions of his contract and salary documents. Also of note are documents related to the ‘parsonage’ —the legal term of the time (1962) which refers to the Rabbi's residence. The series also includes documents from Temple Emanuel's Capital Campaign, which resulted in a new wing of the temple. Rabbi Roth was called on, in retirement, to help raise funds for the temple from its affluent congregation. The extensive photographs and albums included in this series are from temple celebrations, such as the Rabbi's retirement party in 1990. An original musical is included in this series, entitled “When Harry Met Lillian…and They Met Us,” written by the members of Temple Emanuel, is included in the subseries of temple celebrations. A small collection of historical documents about Temple Emanuel are included in this series. Also included is a bound survey of the Andover Jewish community, retelling the stories of the Jewish families and individuals who had made Andover, MA their home.

2 5 Capital Campaign undated, 1996-2001 request_box
2 6 Contracts and Covenants undated, 1962-2003 request_box
2 7 Elayne Kessel Memorial Wing undated, 1999 request_box
2 8 Judaica Shop Ledgers 1980-1989 request_box
2 9 Newspaper Clippings 1984-1998 request_box
2 10 Parsonage Documents 1962-1996 request_box
2 11-12 Photographs undated, 1960s, 1978-1990 request_box
5OS Photographs 1990 request_box
5OS Photographs 1990 request_box
2 13 Photographs—Israel with Christian Clergy 1989 request_box
2 14 Pilgrimages to Israel 1976-1989 request_box
5OS Plaque 1990 request_box
5OS Poem 1990 request_box
2 15 Publications Related to History of Temple Emanuel undated, 1955-1980 request_box
2 16 Rabbi's Retirement Fund undated, 1988-1990 request_box
2 17 Rabbi's Salary (Restricted) undated, 1962-1990 request_box
2 18 Scholarship Funds 1977-1993 request_box
2 19 Scrapbook 1969-1975 request_box
5OS Scrapbook 1990 request_box
2 20 Temple Celebrations 1987-1990 request_box
2 21 Temple Literature undated, 1965-1998 request_box

Part II, Series IV: Roth Family Personal Papers, undated, 1952-2003

Box 2

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

The Roth's personal papers include documents from both Rabbi Roth and his wife, Lillian Roth. The bulk of this series is the date and memo books of the couple, as well as notes from Passover Seders, dinner parties, and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. The Roths were heavily involved in the lives Temple Emanuel's members, and these notes revolve around their various interactions with that community.

2 22 General undated, 1986-1990 request_box
OS Harry A. Roth's Datebooks 1952-2000 request_box
OS Lillian Roth's Datebooks 1984-2003 request_box
2 23 Notebooks 1962-2003 request_box
2 24 Prayers Delivered by Lillian Roth 1962-1984 request_box

Part II, Series V: Sermons, undated, 1965-1994

Box 3-4

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series includes many notecards containing both delivered sermons and notes for future ones. Over his 28-year tenure as rabbi, Rabbi Roth collected jokes, stories, and moral anecdotes to share with his congregation; some are sourced, some are in Hebrew. Some of these notes may be found in the wedding, funeral, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or confirmation sermons, which are written in Rabbi Roth's personal shorthand of English and Hebrew words. The folder of special sermons contains unique sermons such as the “Learning Dialogues,” and sermons delivered in Israel and Martha's Vineyard.

3 1-2 Bar/Bat Mitzvah 1966-1976 request_box
3 3 Confirmations 1977-1990 request_box
3 4 Funerals 1980-1994 request_box
3 5-10 General 1970-1974 request_box
3 11 Jokes and Anecdotes—Children undated request_box
3 12-13 Jokes and Anecdotes—Miscellaneous undated request_box
3 14 Jokes and Anecdotes—Temple Annual undated request_box
3 15 Jokes and Anecdotes—Topics A through Z undated request_box
4 1-3 Jokes and Anecdotes—Topics A through Z Undated request_box
4 4-6 Sermon Notes 1965-1979 request_box
4 7-8 Special Sermons 1968-1976 request_box
4 9 Weddings undated, 1968-1991 request_box
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