web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Rafael's Spike anti-tank missile launcher.
Israel Beats Out US for $525 Million Arms Sale to India
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

Over the course of the next couple of weeks we were planning our daily schedule by the minute. At any second we would have to change our plans. It was understood by everyone on the bus that this was not the normal agenda for the summer, but we still managed to have a ridiculous amount […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Glimpses-100314

Practically to his last days the patriarchal founder was at his office almost daily and took an active interest in all matters connected with the business.

In 1787 Jonas wrote a letter to Congress asking that the federal Constitution guarantee religious liberty in the state of Pennsylvania.

Like many of his contemporaries, he went through some hard years, but eventually he earned the rewards of his perseverance and integrity.

These letters give us the privilege of knowing him in his old age when he is mellow, tempered in his judgments, and sagacious from long experience of dealing with people.

The British evacuated New York on November 25, 1783, and Congress demobilized the American army shortly thereafter.

“Simple, modest, altogether unassuming, Gershom spent his happiest hours with his ever-growing family who were never far from his thoughts.

“Attuned to the ideal of establishing a new Zion in free America, they named their new colony Palestine.

Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.

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: