Cincinnati, Ohio: Office of the Israelite, 1872. Hardcover. Item #41026

1st edition. Cloth. 12mo. 83 pages. "As a literary production this little book shows: 1. There is a religion without mysteries or miracles, rational and self-evident. 2. This rational religion is taught in the Bible, called, in the Gentile phraseology, the Old Testament. 3. This scriptural and rational religion is Judaism. 4. Judaism, in its doctrines and duties, is eminently humane, universal, liberal, and progressive; in perfect harmony with modern science, criticism, and philosophy, and in full sympathy with universal liberty, equality, justice, and charity." Wise was a U. S. Rabbi and pioneer of Reform Judaism. He was "born in Steingrub, Bohemia and he lived in Prague and Vienna, and studied at various yeshivot. His later writings suggest that the ideas of the French Enlightenment must have influenced him in his younger days. In 1843 he became the rabbinical officiate (Religionsweiser) at Radnitz in Bohemia. The Hapsburg Empire offered bleak prospects for Wise personally and for the removal of disabilities suffered by Jews. He resolved to emigrate-whether with a view to pursuing the rabbinic calling is uncertain-and arrived in New York in 1846. The free atmosphere of America seemed to liberate in Wise capacities of which he had given no indication in Europe. He became rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Albany, N.Y., introducing reforms such as mixed pews, choral singing, and confirmation, designed to improve public worship. In 1854 Wise went to Cincinnati as rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, remaining there for the rest of his life. Within a few months of his arrival he began to publish a weekly, The Israelite, later known as The American Israelite, and a German supplement Die Deborah. By the end of the year he established the short-lived Zion College, combining Hebrew and secular studies. In 1856 he published Minhag America, a curtailment with modifications of the traditional Hebrew ritual. Despite repeated setbacks, Wise always returned to his advocacy of a union of congregations, a common prayer book, and a college to train American rabbis. His interest was focused on one particular aspect of the Union's tasks-the establishment of a rabbinical college. He was appointed president of Hebrew Union College, which opened in 1875. For the remainder of his life Wise labored in the interests of the college. He ordained more than 60 rabbis, and by the time of his death had become the "founding father" of the Reform movement in America" (Temkin, EJ). Not the more common 1888 edition. Wear to front pastedown, 19th Century Jewish owner's name and date on endpaper, Otherwise in Very Good condition. (AMRN-12-4).

Price: $100.00

See all items by