Guide to the Papers of David Cedarbaum (1903-1987), undated, 1944-1951, 1955, 1959, 1989 (bulk 1944-1946)

Processed by Sarah Glover

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161



© 2017, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Sarah Glover as MS Word document, July 2011. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on July 12, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Cedarbaum, David
Title: David Cedarbaum, papers
Dates:undated, 1944-1951, 1955, 1959, 1989 (bulk 1944-1946)
Abstract: The collection documents the time David Cedarbaum spent serving as a Jewish military chaplain in the Marianas during World War II.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 3.9 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 2 oversized boxes)
Identification: P-914
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

David I. Cedarbaum (1903-1987)

David I. Cedarbaum was born on April 26, 1903, in New York City. He received his bachelor's degree from the College of the City of New York in 1922, a master's degree from Columbia Teacher's College in 1924, and graduated as a rabbi from Hebrew Union College in 1933. Cedarbaum was a lifelong religious educator. From 1918 to 1922, he was a teacher at the Hebrew Educational Society of Brooklyn. From 1922 to 1924, he was a teacher at the Central Jewish Institute in New York City. From 1924 to 1926, he was a teacher at Hebrew High School of The Bureau of Jewish Education in New York City. He also served as the principal of three schools: Sabbath School, Hebrew Educational Society (1920-1922); Sunday School of Temple Israel of Washington Heights (1927-1928); and Louisville Hebrew Schools, Louisville, Ky. (1929-1930). Cedarbaum also served as assistant director of the Jewish Education Section of The Jewish Communal Survey of Greater New York from 1927 to 1929. From 1936 to 1943, he served as rabbi and head of the Department of Jewish Education for the Educational Alliance in Manhattan.

During World War II, Cedarbaum served as a military chaplain with the 20th Air Force in the Marianas. After the war, he worked as the Educational Consultant on the Supervision Staff of the Board of Jewish Education in Chicago. In this position, which he held from 1946 to 1968, he supervised all Reform Jewish Sunday schools in Chicago. He was also a professor of education and head of the Department for the Training of Sunday School Teachers at the College of Jewish Studies. Additionally, he was Educational Director for the Chicago Federation of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Cedarbaum also served as Chairman of the Committee on Religious Education for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and as a member of the National Commission on Jewish Education of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Central Conference of American Rabbis.

In addition to these responsibilities, Cedarbaum served as part-time rabbi of several congregations throughout his career, including Temple Beth El in Benton Harbor, Mich.; Congregation B'nai Jehoshua and Congregation Beth Or in Deerfield, Ill.; B'nai Torah in Highland Park, Ill.; and Temple Beth Israel, Temple Ezra, and Congregation Beth Elohim in Des Plains, Ill.

Cedarbaum passed away on July 30, 1987, in Laguna Hills, Calif. He was married to Sophia Ann Cedarbaum (nee Nahamkin). They had one son, Jesse M. Cedarbaum.


"Rabbi David Cedarbaum, 84, Retired Religious Educator," New York Times, August 8, 1987.
Biographical material, Papers of David Cedarbaum, P-914, Box 1, Folder 1, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA, and New York, NY

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Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the time David Cedarbaum spent serving as a Jewish military chaplain in the Marianas during World War II. The collection is arranged in two series: Series I: Papers and Series II: Scrapbook.

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The collection is arranged into two 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 Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives 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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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); David Cedarbaum, papers; P-914; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Sophie W. Cedarbaum in June 2007.

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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 open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Series I: Papers, undated, 1944-1951, 1955, 1959, 1989

The Series is in English.
Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by folder name.

Scope and Content:

Records include rosters of Jewish personnel serving in the 20th Air Force; an honor roll including records of casualty for Jewish service personnel wounded, killed, or missing in action; a report on Jewish personnel in the 20th Air Force, including a roster, an honor roll, and information on citations received by Jewish servicemen, including type of citation and reason awarded; letters to the chaplain from parents of servicemen with whom he served; and transcripts of sermons Cedarbaum gave over the radio. Other documents include service booklets for Jewish holidays, a list of times and locations of Jewish religious services, and a report on Passover Seders held in 1945. Also included is a memorial album prepared by the parents of a serviceman killed in action. The album includes a photograph and biography of Jewish servicemen killed while fighting with the 20th Air Force. Additionally included in the collection are photographs from Cedarbaum's time in the Marianas. The majority of the photographs are of celebrations and services for Jewish holidays. Other photographs show Jewish servicemen at the graves of their fellow soldiers.

1 1 Biographical undated request_box
1 2 Correspondence 1945-1948, 1955 request_box
1 3 Edward and Norman Sellz 1945-1946 request_box
1 4 Holiday Booklets 1945 request_box
1 5 Honor Roll 1944-1945 request_box
1 6 Jewish Personnel in the 20th Air Force 1944-1945 request_box
1 7 Letters to David Cedarbaum from Soldiers’ Parents 1945-1946 request_box
1 8 List of Jewish Services 1945 request_box
1 9 Memorial Album 1951 request_box
1 10 Photographs undated, 1945, 1959 request_box
1 11 Photographs, Passover 1945 request_box
1 12 Photographs, Rosh Hashanah 1945 request_box
1 13 Presidential Memorial Certificate 1989 request_box
1 14 Radio Sermons 1945 request_box
1 15 Report on Passover Sedarim 1945 request_box
1 16 Rosters 1944-1945 request_box
1 17 Veterans’ Memorandum Allotment Book 1946-1951 request_box
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Series II: Scrapbook, undated, 1945

The Series is in English.
Box 2.
Scope and Content:

Cedarbaum's scrapbook includes photographs, newspaper clippings, materials pertaining to services and religious holidays, and correspondence from his time serving in the Marianas during World War II. Photographs include images of Cedarbaum both individually and with other chaplains and servicemen; Cedarbaum receiving his bronze star; Jewish holiday observance and Friday night services; radio broadcasts of Jewish religious programming; and Jewish servicemen visiting the graves of their fellow soldiers. A particularly interesting set of photographs, accompanied by newspaper clippings, documents the dedication of the Aron Kodesh, which was built for the Jewish servicemen by non-Jewish members of the 20th Air Force. Other newspaper clippings document religious services and holidays. Other documents included in the scrapbook are booklets for holiday services; a report on Passover Seders held in 1945; and the transcript of a service held on Tisha B'Av. A set of correspondence included in the scrapbook details the discovery of the graves of two Jewish servicemen previously listed as missing in action and subsequent efforts made to ensure that the servicemen are reburied with a proper Jewish service and grave markers. Photographs of a service performed by the Jewish army chaplain in the area are included.

2 Scrapbook undated, 1945 request_box
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Artifacts, undated

Box 3.
Scope and Content:

Kept separately from the collection are Cedarbaum's bronze star, tallis and tallis bag, 10 commandments flag, and Seder plate.

3 Artifacts undated request_box
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