The tower
The sermons of Rabbi Eisendrath which give this blog its name were found in "the tower", a seldom visited area of the synagogue building inhabited by Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada. Unheated, dimly lit and accessible only by a staircase too narrow to allow more than one person ascending or descending at a time, the tower was a place where old accounting records and administrative papers were deposited and forgotten.

In January 2006, volunteers from the Temple Brotherhood, our men's club, undertook a clean up and discovered a collection of manuscripts. They were set aside, together with some scrapbooks that were found, and given to the Archives committee for examination.

In total, 189 sermons written by Rabbi Eisendrath were found. (There were also a few sermons written by his predecessor at Holy Blossom, Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman.) Most of the sermons are in Rabbi Eisendrath's own handwriting; a few are typewritten. Some were written by him while he was a rabbi in West Virginia before coming to Toronto. Most are complete sermons, but a few are missing pages or are outlines.

Most of the sermons are not dated on their face, but we can date many by internal references, or by comparing their titles to the titles of sermons announced in the Holy Blossom Bulletin. We have sermons written for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and other holidays and festivals. We also have sermons written for Sunday morning services. The Sunday services were well attended by a mixed audience of Christians and Jews. Sadly, we have no complete sermons that we can attribute yet to regular Saturday morning Shabbat services, although we know from the Holy Blossom Bulletin that the rabbi did deliver sermons on that day. It may be that his sermons on that day were not written out in full.

In addition to the manuscripts that were discovered, the Holy Blossom Archives also holds about 130 additional sermons written by Rabbi Eisendrath. Most are in The Holy Blossom Pulpit, annual collections of sermons from 1930-31 to 1941-42. They were created by binding together a selection of pamphlets containing single sermons that had been published (and sold for ten cents each) during the year.

Additional sermons by the Rabbi are in the holdings of the American Jewish Archives and the Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives. Eighteen sermons written by Rabbi Eisendrath while in Toronto are contained in The Never Failing Stream (Macmillans in Canada, 1939).

In Can Faith Survive?: The Thoughts and Afterthoughts of an American Rabbi (McGraw-Hill, 1964) Rabbi Eisendrath reviews several of his earlier sermons, sometimes reaffirming, but often revising the opinions he expressed in his younger years.

The Holy Blossom Archives is missing vol. 9 of The Holy Blossom Pulpit. We are also missing many sermons that we know were published as pamphlets but were not included in the annual editions of The Holy Blossom Pulpit. If you have any sermons by Rabbi Eisendrath, or other memorabilia, or can recount any oral history from his time in Toronto, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us at


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