The Rise of Reform Judaism

The Rise of Reform Judaism

A Sourcebook of Its European Origins

W. Gunther Plaut
Foreword by Solomon B. Freehof
New introduction by Howard A. Berman
 

JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought Series

320 pages

Paperback

October 2015

978-0-8276-1216-7

$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

October 2015

978-0-8276-1279-2

$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

This fiftieth anniversary edition of W. Gunther Plaut’s classic volume on the beginnings of the Jewish Reform Movement is updated with a new introduction by Howard A. Berman. The Rise of Reform Judaism covers the first one hundred years of the movement, from the time of the eighteenth-century Jewish Enlightenment leader Moses Mendelssohn to the conclusion of the Augsburg synod in 1871.

In these pages the founders who established liberal Judaism speak for themselves through their journals and pamphlets, books and sermons, petitions and resolutions, and public arguments and disputations. Each selection includes Plaut’s brief introduction and sketch of the reformer. Important topics within Judaism are addressed in these writings: philosophy and theology, religious practice, synagogue services, and personal life, as well as controversies on the permissibility of organ music, the introduction of the sermon, the nature of circumcision, the observance of the Sabbath, the rights of women, and the authenticity of the Bible.

Author Bio

Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut (1912–2012) was a longtime rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. The author of more than twenty books on Jewish theology, history, and culture, he is best known for The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof (1892–1990) was a leader of the Reform Jewish Movement and a world-renowned interpreter of Jewish law. Rabbi Howard A. Berman is the executive director of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism. He lectures at congregations throughout the United States on behalf of the society and teaches regularly at Hebrew Union College.

Praise

“The characteristic diversity within Reform Judaism is underscored on virtually every page of Plaut’s volumes.”—Rabbi Howard A. Berman, executive director of the Society for Classical Reform Judaism 

“The work of Rabbi Plaut is not only crucial for an understanding of Reform Judaism; it is also indispensable for grasping the development and history of Judaism in the modern world.”—Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor and past president of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion

“This valuable collection of source materials is designed to acquaint the reader with the primary forces in the development of Reform Judaism in Europe. From a wide range of essays, articles, speeches, and other writings, Dr. Plaut judiciously selects those that best represent the thinking of the leaders as well as of the lesser, more obscure figures of the Reform movement.”—Commentary magazine

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 50th Anniversary Edition by Howard A. Berman

Foreword by Solomon B. Freehof

Introduction

CHAPTER I: TRAIL BLAZERS

1. The First Generation

2. The Journals

CHAPTER II: NEW TEMPLES, NEW PRAYER BOOKS

1. Seesen, 1810

2. Hamburg, 1817

3. Vienna, 1826

4. Metz,1841

5. London, 1842

6. Frankfort, 1842
7. Berlin, 1844
8. Worms, 1848
9. Pesth, 1848
CHAPTER III: THE GREAT CONTROVERSY--TIKTIN VS. GEIGER
CHAPTER IV: CONFERENCES AND SYNODS
1. The French Sanhedrin
2. The Rabbinic Conferences
3. The Synods
CHAPTER V: NEW PATTERNS OF THOUGHT
1. General Considerations
2. The “Science of Judaism”
3. The Bible and Its Text
4. The Authority of Tradition
CHAPTER VI: A PEOPLE AND ITS FAITH
1. Revelation
2. The Jewish People--Dispersion and Restoration
3. The Mission of Israel
4. The Messiah
5. Judaism and Christianity
CHAPTER VII: WORSHIP REFORM
1. Changing the Prayer Book
2. The Sermon
3. Vernacular and Hebrew in the Service
4. Synagogue Music
5. Bar Mitzvah and Confirmation
6. Covering the Head
7. Torah Reading and Piyutim
CHAPTER VIII: SABBATH AND HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE
l. The Sabbath
2. The Holidays
CHAPTER IX: THE PERSONAL LIFE
l. Circumcision
2. Dietary Laws
3. Marriage
4. Mourning Practices
5. Home Observance
CHAPTER X: THE COMMUNITY
1. The Rabbinic Office
2. The Public Oath
3. Apostates
4. Jewish Education
5. The Status of Women
6. For the Sake of Heaven
7. A Guide for Reform Judaism
Bibliographical Notes
Index

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