web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Reverend Henry Pereira Mendes – Safeguarding Orthodox Judaism (Part III)

Reverend Henry Pereira Mendes

Reverend Henry Pereira Mendes

In 1887 JTS formally opened, using the facilities of Shearith Israel. Dr. Mendes served in various leadership positions during the early years of the seminary but eventually broke with it when he saw it was moving away from traditional Judaism.

“With their Sephardic background of enlightened Orthodoxy, Dr. Mendes and his cousin, the Rev, Meldola de Sola, minister of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation in Montreal, felt the need of creating an organization which would make traditional Judaism in the United States more articulate, more united, and vested with greater dignity and force. They called into existence the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of the United States and Canada, its first convention being held in June 1898, in the assembly hall of Dr. Mendes’ synagogue. He became its first president, and held that office for fifteen years. During all those years he was its guiding genius, standing ever on watch to safeguard the interests of Orthodox Judaism, and speaking in no unclear terms for the primacy and supremacy for all time of the ancient Judaism of the Torah.

“At Washington, at Albany, in New York City and elsewhere, in the press and in practical activity, Dr. Mendes, speaking through the Orthodox Union, and the Orthodox Union speaking through Dr. Mendes, were ever ready to protect Jewish rights in the days before the American Jewish Committee was organized for this purpose. In doing so, they spoke unequivocally in the name of historical Judaism with its insistence on righteousness and justice. In his own unquestioned Americanism he vindicated the complete [harmony] of Orthodox Judaism in American life. In the profound reverence of his religion he exemplified the identity of Orthodox Judaism with order, decorum and beauty in the synagogue. Through the deep inwardness of his religious spirit he showed that there was no need to reform Judaism in order to bring out its spiritual values.”[iv]

His Passing

Reverend Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes passed away on October 20, 1937. He was mourned by many and there was an outpouring of tributes to his extraordinary accomplishments throughout his long life. President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the following: “As a rabbi of the historic Congregation Shearith Israel and as a scholar of world-wide repute, Dr. Mendes was long a commanding figure in our religious and intellectual life, who will be sadly missed and widely mourned.”[v]

 

 


[i] “Henry Pereira Mendes: Architect of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations” by Eugene Markowitz, American Jewish Historical Quarterly (1961-1978); Sep 1965-Jun 1966; 55, 1-4; AJHS Journal.

[ii] “Henry Pereira Mendes” by David De Sola Pool, American Jewish Year Book Vol. 40 (1938-1939), pages 41-60. (Available at http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=10072)

[iii] The Unfailing Light by Bernard Drachman, Rabbinical Council of America, New York, 1948, page 181.

[iv] Henry Pereira Mendes by David De Sola Pool

[v] Ibid.

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 “Reverend Henry Pereira Mendes – Safeguarding Orthodox Judaism (Part III)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The Straits of Hormuz
Iran Seizes Cargo Ship Under US Protection in Strait of Hormuz
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.

Teens-Twenties-logo

“I was so inspired by the beautiful lessons I learned and by the holiness around me that I just couldn’t stop writing songs!” she says.

Schonfeld-logo1

But Pi Day is worst of all
I want the extra credit bad
But trying to remember many numbers
makes me sad.

Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.

Now that we’re back to chometz, it’s just the right time to give thought to our wellbeing. Who doesn’t want to lose a few bulky matzah-and-potato pounds? Who wouldn’t like to eat smarter and feel better? If you’re like most people I know, these are probably the first things you’d like to address. It’s time […]

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Dr. Aaron Friedenwald

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.

Glimpses-030615

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.

There were many who believed that some North America Indians were descended from Jews.

One might think to attribute the crudeness of the calendar to the fact that it was produced by a frontier community unable to calculate a more precise table.

“Throughout his life, he observed Tisha B’Ab as the Nahalah (anniversary) for all of his relatives who were murdered, as this is the national Jewish day of mourning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/reverend-henry-pereira-mendes-safeguarding-orthodox-judaism-part-iii/2013/09/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: