By Melvin I. Urofsky
Within the first 1/2 this century, a skilled and charismatic management restructured the yankee Jewish group to satisfy the calls for and possibilities of a pluralistic, secular society. The paintings of this iteration of titans nonetheless courses the present modes of yank Jewish existence. The final of those giants was once the influential reformer Stephen S. Wise--a progenitor of yank Zionism, author of the yank and global Jewish Congresses, and founding father of the Jewish Institute of faith. As rabbi of the loose Synagogue, clever led the struggle for a dwelling Judaism attentive to social problems.
This engrossing examine is greater than a chronicle of an ethnic community's adjustment to a number society. because of Melvin Urofsky's painstaking examine, it succeeds in revealing the real tale in the back of a mythical and debatable determine in American Jewish background.
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Additional info for A voice that spoke for justice: the life and times of Stephen S. Wise
After the service Wise saw a small group of the congregation's officers in animated discussion. " Wise responded that he had informed himself as well as he could about the facts and about the living conditions of the strikers. " At that moment, and not a decade later, the Free Synagogue was born. 25 A portrait of Stephen Wise at this time would have shown a young but impressive figure, leading services in a gown, mitred hat, and a High Church turned collar. He was already a master of ritual and form and knew how to use his deep resonant voice to full advantage.
He also learned about a less attractive aspect of the city, the corrupt ward politics of Tammany Hall, with its stuffed ballot boxes and purchased votes. 7 His education also reflected these twin stands of his life. S. 15. There a teacher named Nathanael Beirs often sent him out after class to fetch hot water for his tea; then they would sit and talk. 8 The New York schools at that time offered a six-year course of study with an additional year of preparation for those students going on to college.
Here again his father's advice proved useful. At first the would-be orator tried to imitate the "Episcopalian sing song" so prevalent among the city's preachers. 13 Simultaneously with his secular studies Wise pursued Hebrew and Jewish topics. Even before entering public school he had learned enough Hebrew from his father to participate in Rodeph Sholom's services. As the boy grew older, his father sent him to study with his good friend, Alexander Kohut. Like Aaron Wise, Kohut had been in the midst of the battle between Reform and Orthodoxy; trying to steer a middle course, he had helped found the Jewish Theological Seminary and taught Talmud there.
A voice that spoke for justice: the life and times of Stephen S. Wise by Melvin I. Urofsky