By Melvin I. Urofsky
Within the first half this century, a skilled and charismatic management restructured the yankee Jewish group to fulfill the calls for and possibilities of a pluralistic, secular society. The paintings of this iteration of titans nonetheless publications the present modes of yank Jewish lifestyles. The final of those giants was once the influential reformer Stephen S. Wise--a progenitor of yank Zionism, author of the yankee 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 residing 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 genuine tale in the back of a mythical and arguable determine in American Jewish historical past.
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Additional resources for A voice that spoke for justice: the life and times of Stephen S. Wise
But now a decision had to be reached as to where he would study, and following his father's counsel, Wise opted for Europe over Cincinnati. In the fall he boarded a steamer for Bremen, and from there took the train to Vienna, where he would begin work under the great Adolf Jellinek. Jellinek, then at the pinnacle of his fame, was the chief exponent of Wissenschaft des Judentums, the scientific study of Judaism. He introduced his new student from America to commentary and exposition, to research of a kind and intensity Wise had never experienced at either City College or Columbia.
His family, in the meantime, had grown with the birth of a son, Otto Irving, in 1872, and then of a second son, Stephen Samuel, on March 17, 1874. Despite these obligations, Aaron determined now to keep the promise made nearly a decade earlier; one month after Stephen's birth, Aaron Weisz left for America by himself, traveling as did so many other immigrants in the overcrowded steerage. Once safely landed in New York, he took a job laying bricks on the new Tribune building until he found a synagogue in Brooklyn, Beth Elohim, delighted to have the son of the famous Reb Joseph Weisz as its rabbi.
Brandeis and American Zionism. Brandeis, who also combined a devotion for prophetic idealism and Jeffersonian democracy, found his perfect lieutenant for the Zionist and Congress battles in Stephen Wise, and I determined that, at some later date, I would learn more about Wise's life. In 1974 Dr. Emil Lehman of the Herzl Institute invited me to deliver an address on the centennial of Wise's birth. The Hon. Justine Wise Polier and James Waterman Wise later read that paper, and urged me to undertake a full-scale biography of their father.
A voice that spoke for justice: the life and times of Stephen S. Wise by Melvin I. Urofsky