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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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Years of Sorrow and Strife (1869–1874)

Years of Sorrow and Strife (1869–1874)

17. Years of Sorrow and Strife (1869–1874)
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter considers Isaac Mayer Wise’s involvement in strife as violent and extended as any he had known. The focus of the strife was two sets of conferences called with differing objects by men who had developed strong personal antagonisms. Wise, in pursuit of long-standing aims, brought together a conference of rabbis in Cleveland in July 1870. This adjourned to New York in October and reassembled in Cincinnati in May 1871. It then declared itself to be a permanent body, but in fact never met again. In the meantime, a conference of Reform rabbis had met in Philadelphia in November 1869, and Wise was charged with arranging for the sessions to be resumed in Cincinnati in November 1870. However, he backed away, and this move petered out. In the course of these manœuvrings Wise was solemnly condemned by his colleagues, but out of the ashes of these endeavours emerged the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, brought together by the lay leaders of Wise’s community.

Keywords:   Cleveland Conference, rabbinic conference, New York, Cincinnati, Reform rabbis, Philadelphia, Union of American Hebrew Congregations

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