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By Melvin I. Urofsky

Within the first 1/2 this century, a skilled and charismatic management restructured the yank Jewish group to fulfill the calls for and possibilities of a pluralistic, secular society. The paintings of this iteration of titans nonetheless courses the present modes of yankee Jewish lifestyles. The final of those giants was once the influential reformer Stephen S. Wise--a progenitor of yankee Zionism, writer of the yank and international Jewish Congresses, and founding father of the Jewish Institute of faith. As rabbi of the unfastened Synagogue, clever led the struggle for a residing Judaism attentive to social problems.

This engrossing research is greater than a chronicle of an ethnic community's adjustment to a number society. due to Melvin Urofsky's painstaking study, 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

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Wise joined the Clinonian, the college literary society which debated similar groups at other schools. 12 By now he had developed a rich baritone voice and a speaking style that gave more than a hint of unusual ability. 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.

For them the true church did not reside in a cathedral but in the shops and factories and markets where people lived and labored. " It was Davidson who urged Wise to remember that "Judaism like all living things changes as it grows; that while the letter killeth the spirit keepeth alive. "21 That summer passed quickly and happily for Wise, and laid the basis for his close relationship with Davidson until the latter's death in 1900. The Adirondack air proved as beneficial for his body as Davidson's lectures had been for his mind, and his family marveled at his vigor and robustness.

In 1966, Kabakoff published a study of Zvi Gershoni (Henry Gersoni), who had been one of Wise's early Hebrew teachers. 30 In the course of his research he found a letter from Gershoni reported that he was finishing a translation of ibn Gabirol from Arabic into Hebrew, and was also writing a lengthy thesis in English on the treatise. D. for it next month. " It is dated more than six years before Wise turned in his dissertation to Columbia, and the final product is an English, not Hebrew, translation of the Arabic.

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