Herman Hayyim Kieval (1920-1991), Papers.

  • Dates: 1945-1991
  • Size: 9 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 8 (7 record cartons, 1 document case)
  • Languages:
    • English
    • Hebrew
    • Yiddish
  • 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: Esther Kieval
  • Date: September, 1995

JSF, 7/23/97; rev. JM, 1/98

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

Herman Hayyim Kieval was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1920 to Sarah and Isadore Kieval. He attended both public school and Hebrew school in Baltimore. Kieval received his BA from Johns Hopkins University in 1939, was ordained and received his masters degree from The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1942 and earned a doctorate in Hebrew literature at the Seminary in 1977. After Rabbi Kieval's ordination he went into the pulpit at Congregation Beth Judah in Ventnor, New Jersey where he remained from 1942 to 1944.

In 1944 Kieval enlisted in the United States Army as a chaplain. After a year of training and serving in Hawaii and Okinawa, Kieval became the first Jewish chaplain of the Army of Occupation in Korea. He served in Korea from 1945 to 1946, attaining the rank of captain. One of his duties was to edit, Kol Korea (voice of Korea), copies of which are in this collection.

After his army service Kieval returned to the United States and to the pulpit, serving in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Congregation Ahavas Israel from 1946 to 1950. In 1950 he moved into a pulpit in Pittsburgh, Congregation Beth Shalom, where he served until 1954. In 1955, he went to Temple Israel in Albany, New York where he served as rabbi for thirty-one years until his retirement in 1986. He was rabbi emeritus at Temple Israel until his death.

From 1958 to 1980 Kieval taught Jewish liturgy at The Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1959 the United Synagogue of America published the first volume of his major study, The High Holy Days, which deals with the prayerbook for Rosh Hashanah. Kieval started a second volume, on Yom Kippur, but never completed it. He also wrote a number of articles on the liturgy for the Encyclopedia Judaica, and contributed to the editing of several prayer books.

Kieval taught at a number of other colleges in addition to the Seminary. These include the State University of New York at Albany; St. Michael's College, Winooski, Vermont; Notre Dame University; and Princeton Theological Seminary.

In 1983 Kieval established the Jewish-Christian Institute of Siena College in Loudonville, New York. He ran colloquia there on interfaith issues and was a guest lecturer in many different organizations on this topic.

Rabbi Kieval received honorary doctorates from Baltimore Hebrew College, 1969; Jewish Theological Seminary, 1971; and Siena College, 1974. Siena College, additionally, held a colloquium in Kieval's honor following his death in 1991.

Collection Description

The papers of Herman Kieval consist of records documenting his years at Temple Israel in Albany, New York; an extensive collection of sermons covering his entire career; subject files containing lectures and other writings by Kieval as well as related clippings, letters, and additional sermons; material documenting the Jewish-Christian Institute of Siena College; and issues of Kol Korea, 1945-1946 (the voice of Korea) the newspaper Kieval edited while stationed as an army chaplain in Korea after World War Two.

Series List

  • I. Temple Israel, ca.1955-1985
  • II. Sermons, ca.1946-1988
  • III. Subject Files, ca. 1952-1990
  • IV. Siena College, 1983-1991
  • V. Kol Korea, 1945-1946

Series Descriptions


Boxes 1-3

Material in this series reflects Kieval's activities during the more than thirty years he served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Albany, New York. The subseries into which this series has been divided (see series list, above) was imposed by the archives, although the material within each subseries, including Kieval's rather idiosyncratic classification of the eulogies, reflects his arrangement. A few sermons of Rabbi Goodman Rose, Kieval's successor, are included.

Kieval's annual addresses to the synagogue span the length of his tenure in Albany, and they are basically "state of the synagogue" addresses that briefly summarize the events of the year at the synagogue.

The letters of appreciation are from congregants and others for whom he performed marriages or funerals. In some instances they simply comment on a sermon. Some of these are annotated by Kieval.

The personal papers included here consist only of a biographical sketch and a resume. Material documenting synagogue activities consists of a few bulletins and announcements, and a program for the LTF (Leaders Training Fellowship), a Jewish Theological Seminary youth program started in the 1940s.

II. SERMONS, ca. 1946-1988

Boxes 4-6

Kieval's sermons, covering the years at Albany as well as his prior synagogue appointments, are arranged by holiday or parsha of the week. This is the arrangement in which Kieval maintained this material.

Notes, outlines, drafts, and source material, such as clippings, are often included. Kieval used check marks to indicate each time he used or excerpted from a sermon.

Kieval's "new pedagogical method" is represented here by a description of the method, examples, and correspondence.

A few sermons from Kieval's period at Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh are also included.

III. SUBJECT FILES ca.1952-1990

Box 7 (Folders 1-45)

Like many rabbis, Kieval maintained subject files containing clippings, letters, writings, and other material to use as source material in sermons and other writings. Kieval's subject files also include a large number of his own lectures and other writings on a range of topics, with related source material, drafts, and notes. Some additional sermons are included here. This material has been maintained in the order in which Kieval kept it.

Also included are research ideas that Kieval did not get to. Some issues of journals in which Kieval's writings were published are included.


SIENA COLLEGE, LOUDENVILLE, NY, 1983-1991 Box 7 (Folders 46-48), Box 8 (Folders 1-8)

Included here is correspondence, 1983-1991, documenting Kieval's direction of the Institute; Kieval's opening addresses, notes, and other material from colloquia, 1983-1990; material concerning the Institute's founding in 1983; files on speeches delivered on interfaith topics at Jewish and interfaith organizations (files contain logistical details concerning delivery of the speeches, but lack the speeches themselves); and material from a Siena College tribute to Kieval at his death in 1991.

V. KOL KOREA, 1945-1946

Box 7, Folder 49

Issues of the weekly newsletter, Kol Korea (voice of Korea) edited by Kieval while stationed there. The newsletter reports on events at the First Synagogue, Seoul and the work of Jewish chaplains there. There are also articles reporting on Jewish news elsewhere in Korea and other Asian countries.

Box List

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