web analytics
May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 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
President Obama watches helplessly as his two-year-old Passover Seder guest throws a tantrum.
Photo of Obama’s Passover Seder ‘Fifth Child’ Tantrum
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

Reidel-052215

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Dr. Aaron Friedenwald

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.

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.

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.

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: