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Jewish Research and Education - Cuba Family Archives, Finding Aids

Dates:  1920 - 1974

Creator:  Louis Geffen

Content SummaryLouis Geffen (1904-2001) was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  His father was Rabbi Tobias Geffen, who was the spiritual leader of Congregation Shearith Israel for over 60 years.  Louis gained prominence in Atlanta as an attorney and for his involvement in a wide variety of Jewish community activities. The papers contain a history of the Eplan family of Atlanta, greeting cards and Geffen family memorabilia.  Of special interest is the political campaign card of Louis Geffen for a position on the Board of Education for the City of Atlanta.

Quantity/Physical Description: .2 linear feet

Language(s):  English

Repository:  The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Restrictions on Access:  There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use:  Copyright restrictions may apply.  Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.  Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation:  Box #, Folder #, Mss 104, Louis Geffen Family Papers, The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Arrangement:  All material is arranged in alphabetical order and chronologically within each folder.

Biographical/Historical Note:  Mr. Louis Geffen, November 1, 1904 – January 23, 2001.  Louis Geffen lived on the lower East Side of New York, where his father Rabbi Tobias Geffen led a small congregation. Since 1910, Louis Geffen lived in Atlanta, where his father became the rabbi of the Shearith Israel Congregation on Hunter Street (now MLK Drive).

Upon graduating Boys High School in 1920, Louis Geffen matriculated at Emory University. Studying there from January 1921 to May 1923, he completed a BA with honors. He paid for his legal studies at Columbia University Law School in New York by teaching in the religious school of the Hebrew Institutional Synagogue.

Upon receiving his JD in 1927, Louis returned to Atlanta where he practiced law until 1989. In 1933, Louis Geffen and his brother, assisted their father in persuading Governor Eugene Talmadge to release an innocent Jewish prisoner from the Georgia Chain Gang. That incident, now known as the "Matzah Pardon" is recalled in the American Heritage Haggadah.

From January 1941 until March 1946, Louis Geffen served as a judge advocate in the US Army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  Returning to Atlanta in 1946, with his wife and son, he began the practice of law once again, "his second career" as he dubbed it.  From 1927-1940, and again from 1946-1954, Louis Geffen served as pro bono counsel for Shearith Israel Congregation.
In the 1960's Geffen worked with his father and his son in preparing the English translation of the Jewish legal responsum authored in 1935 by Rabbi Tobias Geffen on the issue of whether "Coca Cola was Kosher and Kosher for Passover." That translation and his biography of his father appeared in "Lev Tuviah," in 1988.

Geffen was a participant in many different organizations throughout his life, serving as an officer of the Zionist Organization of America, as president of the Southeastern Region of Young Judea, a Vice Chairman of the Atlanta School Board and Commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 112.

Scope and Content:  A history of the Eplan family of Atlanta, greeting cards and Geffen family memorabilia.  Of special interest is the political campaign card of Louis Geffen for a position on the Board of Education for the City of Atlanta.

Collection Inventory

Box File Description Date
 
1 1 Eplan, Leon family history undated
  2 Geffen, David 1961
  3 Geffen, Rabbi Tobias undated
  4 Congregation Shearith Israel 1947
  5 Greeting Cards – general Undated
  6 Greeting cards – High holidays 1954 – 1955
  7 Jewish War Veterans 1957
  8 Miscellany 1920 - 1974

 

Posted in: Finding aids

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