Series 3
Writings, 1947-1973
Boxes 11 - 17; OP 2

Scope and Content Note

Sermon, speech, and article texts and notes make up a major portion of the Rothschild collection. Arranged chronologically, they document Rothschild's thoughts and attitudes about issues and events. Series 3 is made up of two sections with the bulk located in the first section and containing texts and notes chronologically arranged according to the date Rothschild first used the material. An examination of many items in this first section shows that the rabbi frequently used the same material several times. A smaller portion of abbreviated notes, ideas and outlines follows the main section and is arranged according to the rabbi's original order. This section is somewhat less coherent and sequential than the other parts of the writings series.

Several aspects of Rothschild's career can be followed in the writings series. Sermon manuscripts, particularly for those delivered during the Jewish High Holy Days, show that Rothschild used his pulpit as a public forum. Because the High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and end with Yom Kippur, a day of spiritual atonement, Rothschild's sermons from these periods (occurring in September and October each year) frequently reflect his moral vision of secular and religious life. Writings from the beginning of the secular new year, on the other hand, usually provide a more objective summary of topics and events that Rothschild had found significant during the previous year.

The sermons Rothschild chose for a proposed book, "Sermons from a Southern Pulpit," [Box 11] focus sharply on his positions on race relations, civil rights, social justice and the responsibility southern Jews had to support equal rights. The manuscript sermons, however, do not afford a comprehensive view of the rabbi's involvement in a wide variety of social issues. Sermons written during 1948 show Rothschild addressing race relations issues shortly after his arrival in Atlanta. The frequency of such sermons increased after the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Political events, such as the assignment of the National Guard to peace-keeping duties in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 and the integration of the University of Georgia during the 1960/1961 academic year, were sometimes the occasion for civil rights sermons. Rothschild took his messages about the need for social justice into all areas of his career as two addresses he made at national Jewish conferences (November 17, 1959 and October 15, 1960) show.

Events that concerned Rothschild often received attention over a period of time so that groups of sermons and talks about particular issues appear frequently. For example, such a cluster of writings about social justice issues appears in November and December 1963 when Rothschild was working closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. The rabbi's introduction of King to the 47th Biennial Banquet of the UAHC during that period testifies to the strength of a friendship that had begun in the early 1960s when the civil rights leader returned to Atlanta. [A transcript of King's address is filed with Rothschild's introductory remarks.] King's death in 1968 sparked many talks and articles, while writings from late 1968 and early 1969 show Rothschild's concern about the divisiveness he saw growing between black and white civil rights workers. [See Series 2, Correspondence, for additional material on this and similar topics].

Sermons from election years show that Rothschild did not avoid political statements in the pulpit. In 1948 he focused on the Truman/Dewey presidential election and in 1951 addressed the conflict between President Truman and General MacArthur. He maintained his interest in politics throughout his career, as a sermon in May 1973 about the Watergate affair shows.

International affairs, particularly issues concerning the Middle East and Israel, figured frequently in Rothschild's writings. Referring sometimes to a 1936 pacifist sermon (not in the collection), Rothschild spoke about issues of war and peace (April 22, 1955), the United Nations (October 20, 1961), the Cuban missile crisis (9 November 1962) and Vietnam (January 14 and 25, 1966). Writings from 1947 show his interest in Middle Eastern issues, stemming originally from concern for displaced persons and becoming increasingly pro-Israel. Sermons on related issues appear frequently throughout the period 1947-1950, while other topical clusters occur at times following his visits to Israel or whenever Israel figured in national or international affairs.

Anti-semitism is another topic that appears regularly in the Rothschild writings. Although the rabbi developed many close relationships with clergymen and educators in Atlanta, he did not avoid confronting anti-semitism in religious or educational institutions. In March 1967 he spoke out strongly against Agnes Scott College's all Christian faculty policy as he had about similar issues at Emory University in the spring of l961. When Atlanta churchmen launched an evangelistic campaign in l973, the rabbi criticized the effort, arguing that at its foundation lay the belief that the United States had to become totally Christian. In similar fashion, Rothschild wrote regularly about the separation of church and state, particularly focusing on religious practices in the schools (see, for example, January 10, 1964 and March 20, 1964). (See also correspondence from these periods in Series 2.)

Box Folder Content
11 1-2 Typescript, "Sermons from a Southern Pulpit"
11 3 1947
11 4-5 1948
11 6 1949 January-April
11 7 1949 September-December [includes "Resolution on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and Text of Convention," 30 December 1949]
11 8 1950 January-May [includes "Statement of Principles on Religious Holiday Observance in the Public Schools," by Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 13-14 May 1950]
11 9 1950 September-December
12 1-2 1951
12 3-4 1952
12 5-6 1953
12 7-8 1954
12 9 1955 January-May [includes papers from the 43rd General Assembly of Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Los Angeles, 13-16 February 1955]
12 10 1955 September-December
12 11 1956
13 1 1957
13 2-3 1958
13 4-5 1959
13 6-7 1960
OP1 - Broadside, "An Appeal for Human Rights" issued by "Human Rights Day Youth Conclave 1960"
14 1-3 1961
14 4-5 1962
14 6 1963 January-August
14 7 1963 September-December [includes "Action for Democracy." Sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Atlanta Committee for Cooperative Action, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Committee on Appeals for Human Rights, All Citizens Registration Committee, Atlanta Negro Voters League, Operation Bread Basket, Ghandi Youth Society, 15 November 1963; and
Martin Luther King, Jr., address to the UAHC 47th Biennial Convention, 20 November 1963; and "Vatican Council Paper Decries Blaming of Jews in Jesus' Death," 6 December 1963]
14 8-9 1964
15 1 1965 January-July [includes program and list of sponsors for dinner honoring Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King, Jr., 27 January 1965]
15 2 1965 September-December
15 3 1966 January-June [includes "Statement by Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee on the War in Vietnam," 14 January 1966]
15 4 1966 September-December
15 5-7 1967
15 8 1968 February-May [includes Herbert A. Friedman address, "The Ordeal for Israel's People is Not Finished," to the 30th Annual National Conference of United Jewish Appeal, 29 March 1968]
15 9 1968 September-December
16 1 1969 January-May [includes Israeli government position papers: "The Israeli Action at the Beirut Airport,” December 28, 1968; "Arab Terror Aimed at Destroying Israel-Arab Co-existence." 10 January 1969; and "Statement on the New York School Crisis" adopted by the Commission on Social Justice, Synagogue Council of America, 28 February 1969]
16 2 1969 September-December
16 3 1970 [includes "Synagogue Council Sets Meeting to Consider Vatican Call for Closer Jewish Ties," JTA Daily News Bulletin, 23 January 1970]
16 4 1971 [includes "Jewish Survival Legion Formed to aid Jews; Split from JDL; to Work within the Law," JTA Daily News Bulletin, 22 January 1971; and (statement) by National Jewish Community Relations Council, 22 January 1971]
16 5 1972 [includes "The Jewish Religious Union, Bombay. Annual Report for the Year 1970," 14 April 1972]
16 6 1973 [includes "More in Sorrow than in Anger," by the League of Arab States, 14 December 1973]
17 1-3 Texts and notes: Funerals
17 4-8 Texts and notes: Miscellaneous occasions
17 9 Travel notes