Sol Landau, Papers

  • Dates: 1960-1994
  • Size: .8 linear ft.
  • Number of Boxes: 2
  • Languages:
    • English
    • Hebrew
    • German
  • 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: Sol Landau
  • Date: 1994

RDKT, 4/2/98

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

Rabbi Sol Landau was born in Berlin, Germany, and moved to the United States in 1940. During World War II, he served for three years in the American Army. He received a BA from Brooklyn College, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1954. In 1977 Landau earned a PhD from Florida State University.

Landau served as rabbi of the Whitestone Hebrew Center, Queens, New York, in the fifties; Beth Hillel Congregation of Wilmette, Illinois, 1960-1963; and the Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1963-1965.

In 1965, Landau took the pulpit of Beth David Congregation in Miami, Florida, a position he held until 1981. After retirement he became president and executive director of Mid-Life Services, Inc. Despite his emeritus status, Rabbi Landau returned to Beth David two times, on a part-time basis in 1985, and as interim rabbi in 1995.

Rabbi Landau married Gabriela Mayer in 1951. They have two children, Ezra and Tamara. His brother, composer and conductor Siegfried Landau, was on the faculty of The Jewish Theological Seminary's Cantors Institute.

Rabbi Landau's father, Rabbi Ezekiel Landau (1888-1965) was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He was the great-grandson of the renowned scholar Ezekiel Landau (1713- 1793), also know as "Nodah Bi Yehuda" after the title of his most famous work.

Rabbi Sol Landau wrote >Bridging Two Worlds: Rabbi Ezekiel Landau (1888-1965); His Written and Spoken Legacy (New York: J. David, 1968), a biography which includes a collection of some of his father Ezekiel Landau's sermons.

Landau's father Ezekiel Landau, some of whose papers are included in this collection, was ordained in 1914 by the Hildesheimer Seminary, and received a Phd from Carolingen University in 1917. He held various pulpits and community positions in Prague and Bohemia, published, and became widely known as a speaker. After his marriage in 1919 to Helene Grynberg, the daughter of the Bezoiner Rav, Ezekiel Landau relocated to Berlin, where he served in several pulpits, including Congregation Beth Zion, acting as rabbi there from 1926 until his departure from Germany.

In February, 1939, the family fled to London, and from there immigrated to the United States in March, 1940. In New York Ezekiel Landau worked for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) until his death in 1965. He helped found a synagogue in Manhattan named after the Nodah Bi Yehudah, holding the pulpit there from 1944-1948. From 1948 until his death, Rabbi Ezekiel Landau served as rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel (American Congregation of Jews from Austria) in New York.

Collection Description

This small group of Rabbi Sol Landau's papers, 1960-1994, consists of correspondence, program material, pastoral letters, and printed material which documents his rabbinical career. Also included are sermon notes, in German, ca. 1949-1965, of his father, Ezekiel Landau (1888-1965).

Much of the material in this small and fragmentary collection dates from Sol Landau's years at Beth David Congregation in Miami. A large percentage of the correspondence dates from 1965, the year he started at Beth David, and concerns details of the transition. There are also a few personal letters to congregants, and letters of congratulations to Landau on assuming the pulpit and other important events. There are several letters from German institutions (Der Regierende Burgermeister von Berlin Senatskanzlei and Der Prasident Der Freien Universitat Berlin) in German, 1974-1980.

Pastoral letters, 1960-1972, date from both before and during the Miami period. Themes most commonly covered include synagogue programs, such as the Hebrew school and other youth programming. There are also references to the social upheaval of this era, and the spiritual loneliness he felt to be prevalent at the time. These issues are often mentioned in the context of how the synagogue could help to alleviate stresses associated with the times.

Also included are clippings of several articles by or about Rabbi Landau in the Miami press. There is a tribute book from a gala thrown by Beth David in honor of Rabbi Landau and Gabriela Landau, on April 23, 1994.

The photograph in folder 1/6 shows an unidentified young man pointing at Rabbi Landau's name on the announcement board of a synagogue. The announcement board also indicates that the synagogue is celebrating its Centennial Shabbat, May 15-16, 1987.

Sol Landau's papers also include some material from his father, Rabbi Ezekial Landau. This consists of sermon notes, mostly in German, ca.1949-1965. These were found in envelopes on which dates were written - the envelopes have been retained. Some sermons are also labeled with the name of the parsha to which they pertain. One portrait photograph of Ezekiel Landau is also included.

Box List

Box  Folder(s) Description 
  I. Sol Landau Papers, 1960-1994
1 1 Clippings, 1965-1981
 2 Correspondence, 1960-1983
 3 Discussion day at Beth Am, "Exploring the Meeds of the Middle Years,"
 4 Notes
 5 Pastoral letters, 1960-1972
 6 Photograph, May 15, 1987
 7 Synagogue material, 1965-1988
 8 Synagogue renovations, 1965
 9 Tribute book: "A Lifetime of Giving--A Legacy of Love and Caring: Honoring Rabbi Sol and Gabriela Landau," April 23, 1994
  II. Ezekiel Landau (1949-1965)
 10 Photo of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau
 11 1949-1953
 12 1954-1955
 13 1955
2 1 1956
 2 1958-1961
 3 1962-1965
 4-6  Undated