web analytics
August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Rev. Samuel Myer Isaacs: Champion of Orthodoxy (Part I)


Rev. Samuel Myer Isaacs

Rev. Samuel Myer Isaacs

At Reverend Isaacs’s insistence Shaaray Tefila had a mikveh constructed according to guidelines prescribed by Rabbi Abraham Rice of Baltimore, the first Orthodox rabbi to settle in America. Reverend Isaacs admonished the women of his congregation for not adhering to the Laws of Family Purity and hence not using the congregation’s mikveh.

“Isaacs’s goal was to safeguard the rank and file of American Jewry from Reform.” He realized that the changes in religious observance that were being adopted by many Jews would lead to assimilation, and he was, of course, not wrong. He was “at the forefront of the defense of Orthodoxy in New York and throughout the country.”

“Shaaray Tefila prospered under Reverend Isaacs. The liturgy, ritual, and physical arrangement of seating all conformed to the requirements of Orthodoxy. He was the first Jewish cleric to preach regularly in English in Ashkenazic synagogues, and he was much in demand as a guest speaker because of this ability. Throughout his long career he was the featured speaker at some 47 synagogue dedication ceremonies across the country. He officiated at 812 weddings and not one was a mixed marriage, or ‘as far as my knowledge extends,’ ended in divorce. Isaacs was also the first to reach his seventieth year while in office.”

He was most honored and noted for his staunch adherence to traditional Judaism. “An eminent Christian clergyman in a glowing tribute sent to Isaacs’s sons described their father as ‘a bulwark of strength against the infidelity and godlessness that are growing upon us in this great city. His firm devotion to God’s holy word brought him into direct and cordial sympathy with us Christians….’ ”

Reverend Samuel Myer Isaacs’s activities and accomplishments were not restricted to his congregation or to New York City. He played a major role in all things Jewish that occurred in America during his tenure as spiritual leader of Shaaray Tefila. These activities will be dealt with in next month’s column.

Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.



[i] Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries, edited by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, Vol. XXV, January – June, 1891, New York City, page 211.

About the Author: Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rev. Samuel Myer Isaacs: Champion of Orthodoxy (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jerusalem Arabs in court for charges of assaulting Jews.
Jerusalem Arabs Arrested for Brutally Beating Religious Jewish Couple
Latest Sections Stories

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Singer-Saul-Jay-logo-NEW

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

Personally I wish that I had a mother like my wife.

What’s the difference between the first and second ten-year-old?

What makes this diary so historically significant is that it is not just the private memoir of Dr. Seidman. Rather, it is a reflection of the suffering of Klal Yisrael at that time.

Rabbi Lau is a world class speaker. When he relates stories, even concentration camp stories, the audience is mesmerized. As we would soon discover, he is in the movie as well.

Each essay, some adapted from lectures Furst prepared for live audiences, begins with several basic questions around a key topic.

For the last several years, four Jewish schools in the Baltimore Jewish community have been expelling students who have not received their vaccinations.

“We can’t wait for session II to begin” said camp director Mrs. Judy Neufeld.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Rav S. R. Hirsch

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Levine-Dr-Yitzchok-NEW

After his marriage he was successfully engaged in the lumber business.

He wrote a strong defense of shechitah in which he maintained that the Jewish method of slaughter had a humanitarian influence on the Jewish people.

This was a most unusual step to take in those days, given the difficulties of travel to Europe. Nonetheless, on May 1, 1860 he sailed from New York on the steamship Hammonia.

The ship’s captain apparently respected the Friedenwalds’ strict adherence to halacha because he allowed them to use his cabin for davening and other religious observances.

I happen to believe that for a couple to spend a few years in kollel is a wonderful way to start a marriage.

Penn wrote the following to a friend in England: “I found them [the Indians of the eastern shore of North America] with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them that a man would think himself in Duke’s place, or Barry street, in London, when he sees them.”

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/rev-samuel-myer-isaacs-champion-of-orthodoxy-part-i/2012/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: