The mission of this blog is to stimulate interest in the deeply perceptive and still-relevant teachings of Levi A. Olan (1903-1984) by sharing resources from the Levi A. Olan Sermons and Images at Bridwell Library Digital Collection.

The online Digital Collection features texts, audio recordings, and video presentations of 211 sermons originally broadcast on Sunday mornings between 1961 and 1970 as part of the Peabody Award-winning Temple Emanu-El Program. These sermons were intended for an inter-faith audience, as well as for persons who were struggling to make sense of any faith during the social upheavals of the twentieth century.

In addition to highlighting Rabbi Olan’s sermons, this blog will also share select images, anecdotes, and reflections on his life as a scholar, religious leader, and social activist in Dallas and beyond.

The title “Conscience of the City” was applied to Rabbi Olan by a Fortune magazine reporter in 1964. Although Olan’s city was Dallas, his thought transcends locality. Our goal is to allow it to speak to people of conscience in every city today.

Your blog hosts are Timothy S. Binkley, Head of Special Collections and Archives at Berea College (formerly archivist at Bridwell Library), and Anita Olan, a freelance writer and Rabbi Olan’s granddaughter. Our writing team members include Elizabeth Hirsch, Joshua Hirsch, Frances Olan, Anjelica N. Ruiz, and Lillie R. Jenkins Walker.


The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the hosts and selected contributors. As such, they do not represent Bridwell Library or Temple Emanu-El, Dallas.

Much of Rabbi Olan’s language is a reflection of the writing and public speaking standards of his time. The editorial policy of this blog is to quote Rabbi Olan’s words as written or delivered without attempting to update them in light of current usage.