Mordecai L. Brill (b.1910), Papers.

  • Dates: 1936-1990
  • Size: .8 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 2
  • Languages: English
  • 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: Rabbi Mordecai L. Brill
  • Date: 1988, 1991

RP, 6/27/94

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

Mordecai Brill was born in Indianapolis in 1910. After attending the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago, he was ordained at the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1936.

Rabbi Brill's first pulpit, in 1936, was at Rodeph Sholom Congregation in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 1940 he moved to Brith Sholom in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he was also director of B'nai B'rith youth organizations at nearby schools.

In 1943 Rabbi Brill left Bethlehem to serve as an army chaplain. Brill returned to civilian life in 1946, and served as rabbi of the Beth El Synagogue in Waterbury, Connecticut until 1950. Rabbi Brill later served as the spiritual leader of the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and as a hospital chaplain at the Holy Cross Hospital of Fort Lauderdale, Forida.

In addition to his rabbinical career, Brill is the author of a syndicated newspaper column, "Footnotes to History: It Happened to the Jews."

Collection Description

Rabbi Mordecai Brill's papers include: a small group of clippings, letters, telegrams, invitations, and photographs, 1936-1964, documenting his personal and student life; clippings, publications, and correspondence from each of the synagogues - Rodef Sholom, Brith Sholom, Beth El, and the Greenburgh Hebrew Center - he served; clippings, holiday announcements, and more than thirty photographs documenting his time as a military chaplain, 1943-1946; articles regarding his chaplaincy at Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1988-1990; clippings, typescripts, and press releases of his syndicated column, "Footnotes to History," 1938-1939; articles and speeches he wrote throughout his career, 1938- 1990; and miscellaneous publications and clippings, 1948-1990.

Of note is a transcript of the thesis Brill wrote for the Doctor of Hebrew Literature he earned at JTS in 1948 titled "My Experiences and Observations as a Jewish Chaplain in World War Two."

Box List

Box Folder(s) Description 
I. Personal and Student Documents, 1936-1964
  II. Rabbinical Career, 1937-1959
 2-3Rodef Sholom, Johnstown, PA 1937-1940
 4Brith Sholom, Bethlehem, PA 1940-1943
 5-6Beth El, Waterbury, CT, 1946-1950
 7Greenburgh Hebrew Center, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 1958-1959
 8-10 III. Military Chaplaincy, 1943-19468-10
 11IV. Holy Cross Hospital, 1988-1990
  V. Writings, 1938-1876
21-2"Footnotes to History," 1938-1939
 3-4Journals containing Brill's articles, 1938-1976
 5Typescripts of essays, 1946-1954
 6Miscellaneous articles and talks, 1939-1976
 7VI. Miscellaneous Publications and Clippings, 1948-1990