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Cantor Sheldon Merel and Marcie Merel Collection

Identifier: MS-0585

Scope and Contents

The Cantor Sheldon Merel and Marcie Merel Collection contains memorabilia of Cantor Merel's career, including photographs, programs, correspondence, clippings, newsletters, CDs, and an autobiography. It also contains materials regarding the career of Marcie Merel. Digital photographs of the original binder contents and of awards and certificates are also in the collection.


  • Creation: 1942 - 2018

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Sheldon Foster Merel was born in Chicago in 1924 but grew up in New York City with art and music as prominent themes in his childhood. After waiting tables and getting a taste of theatrical life at camps and resorts, he entered the New York State Merchant Marine Academy and spent World War II as an engineer in the Merchant Marines. After the war he had a recording studio, studied voice, and soon entered the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music, graduating in 1952. Cantor Merel married Marcie the same year and the two began a long careeer of serving congregations in the United States and Canada. In 1979 he became cantor at Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego, retiring in 1991 as Cantor Emeritus. During his long career he enriched each community's understanding and enjoyment of liturgical music by bringing noted musicians, cantors and composers to perform at his various pulpits. There were joint concerts with other congregations, choirs, cantatas and teaching events. His fine tenor voice was heard on concert stages and was featured in the award-winning 1997 video "Homage to Chagall, the Colors of Love." Merel produced several CDs of his work and was an accomplished artist and sculptor. During his early career Mrs. Merel, a talented musician herself, taught music and accompanied him vocally and on the piano. She enjoyed a career in social work and was a leader in various groundbreaking organizations dedicated to social justice, culminating with her work at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. The Merels were members of the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego.


1 Linear Feet (One records carton)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

In 2013 Cantor Sheldon Merel (1924-2021) and Marcie Merel donated 9 binders of memorabilia to the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego consisting of documents and photographs from the more than 60-year career of Cantor Sheldon Merel, Cantor Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego (JHSSD #2013.01). The collection also includes miscellaneous materials regarding Marcie Merel's career with Jewish Family Service in San Diego and in various other locations where the Merel's lived. The contents were digitally photographed as they appeared in the binders, in plastic sleeves, before preservation. There are also digital photographs of plaques and certificates which exist only in this form in the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives in October 2021.


October 2021

Related Materials

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Cantor Joseph Cysner Collection, MS-0589

Rabbi Aaron Gold Collection, MS-0579

Cantor Henri Goldberg Collection, MS-0508

Eileen S. Wingard Collection, MS-0509

Cantor Sheldon Merel and Marcie Merel Collection
Bonnie Harris and Laurel Schwartz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The Norman G. Levi Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US