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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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(p.131) 5. Conference—Union—;Synod
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter turns to Wise’s attempts to set up a synod. Early in 1855, Wise had begun to renew his agitation for a conference. Wise wanted a general ‘get-together’ without regard to theology. He enumerates some of the questions which lay before American Jewry: Zion College, which had been started in Cincinnati; the orphan asylum which had been started in New Orleans; whether or not to have Jewish parochial schools; ‘our standing complaint about the serious want of textbooks for Hebrew schools’. ‘The grand problem-to be solved at present is this’, said Wise, ‘how to unite all these endeavours into one focus’. Here, indeed, the chapter reveals a mind working on a grand design for American Jewry. It is a conference on practical issues, not on ideologies, that Wise is advocating. The note is definitely union, not reform.

Keywords:   synod, conference, union, American Jewry, Zion College, orphan asylum, Jewish parochial schools, Hebrew schools

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