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Creating American Reform JudaismLife and Times of Isaac Mayer Wise$
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Sefton D. Temkin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774457

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774457.001.0001

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Organizing American Jewry

Organizing American Jewry

4. Organizing American Jewry
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter depicts Isaac Mayer Wise’s efforts to organize the American Jewry. The task here was to go further than answering such questions on ritual as might arise in the three constituent congregations of the United German Congregations of New York. A comprehensive range of activities was to be initiated including the preparation of a history, catechism, and a Hebrew grammar. To Wise was assigned the task of preparing a Minhag America — a prayer-book offering a ritual which would be available for all the Jewish congregations in America to adopt. However, as this chapter shows, these plans came to naught. Yet Wise had already taken hold of certain ideas — the union of congregations and a ritual for American Jews to use in common which he was to fight for throughout his prime.

Keywords:   American Jewry, ritual, United German Congregations, New York, Minhag America, American Jewish congregations, union of congregations, American Jewish rituals

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