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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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Flirting with the Orthodox

Flirting with the Orthodox

18. Flirting with the Orthodox
Creating American Reform Judaism

Sefton D. Temkin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Isaac Mayer Wise’s connections with the Orthodox. His agitation for a convention had not made him forget his special concern for the training of rabbis in America, but here too he now harnessed it with his concern for an all-embracing union of American Jews. He wrote in the Israelite contesting the view that the question of Reform or Orthodoxy must be decided before a seminary was founded, because then the institution would have to be either exclusively Orthodox or exclusively Reform. He argued that the Jewish preacher needed, together with a good collegiate education, a ‘correct and comprehensive knowledge of the Jewish sources’. Therefore they needed ‘but one seminary for all parties’ but ‘no school of training of the conscience’; and if the congregations united in a convention, they could easily provide a seminary whatever forms one or the other might prefer. This was received with joy in an unexpected quarter. The New York Jewish Messenger, an organ of Orthodox viewpoint closely connected with the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, commended Wise for his views, thus beginning a series of friendly communications between Wise and the Orthodoxy.

Keywords:   Orthodox, Reform Judaism, Jewish preacher, rabbinic education, rabbinic training, Jewish Messenger

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