web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Reverend Samuel Myer Isaacs – Champion of Orthodoxy (Part II)

Glimpses-090712

“Isaacs finally in 1864 gained support to establish the all-day Hebrew Free School No. 1, which was soon followed by three evening schools that taught only Hebrew. Isaacs’s fellow Hollanders, Hazan M. R. de Leeuw and associates of the Dutch congregation Bnai Israel, spearheaded the effort. The schools enrolled five hundred students by 1869 and provided a ‘sound religious education’ for many decades. Nevertheless, Isaacs described the battle for religious education as ‘uphill work’; advocates faced a constant battle against the ‘hostility and indifference of the community.’

“The Dutch rabbi particularly decried the lack of Hebrew seminaries and colleges to provide educated leaders. ‘Synagogues are crying aloud for ministers,’ he said, ‘and there are none to respond to the call. Jewish children are hungering for religious food…and there is none to supply the desideratum; and this in free and happy America! Where are our collegiate establishments? Where our theologian institutes?’ In 1867 Isaacs achieved his goal by helping establish Maimonides College of Philadelphia, the first theological seminary for Jews in the United States. Unfortunately, the college failed after a few years through no fault of lsaacs. In 1872 the Jewish Messenger sadly lamented the fact that ‘there is not a single Jewish pulpit in America occupied by a minister instructed on our soil.’ ”

Other Activities

Reverend Isaacs was in the forefront of many charitable activities.

“[Sabato] Morais[i] aptly characterized him as a ‘humble Jew to whom the needy turned with confiding looks; with affection.’ Isaacs worked assiduously to combine all Jewish charities in the city by organizing the United Hebrew Charities in 1873. He also helped establish Mount Sinai Hospital (1852) and served as its first vice president.”

Isaacs also worked to ameliorate the hardships faced by Jews living in Palestine “and as early as 1849 began long term fund-raising efforts. In 1853 he became treasurer of the North American Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Palestine, a position he held for many years. When news came of a massive famine in Palestine in 1853-1854, Isaacs was the ‘first to take action; the other ministers followed his lead.’ He mounted the first national campaign in the United States for the relief of Jews overseas. Reverend Isaacs’s exceptional efforts earned him the accolade ‘champion of charitable institutions.’ ”

“Although never formally ordained, Isaacs was one of the leading Jewish ministers in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. One of his colleagues called him the ‘father of the American Jewish clergy.’ His funeral service at Temple Shaaray Tefila in 1878 was the largest Jewish funeral of the century. Every synagogue and Jewish organization in the country sent representatives. Isaacs was a religious leader of major influence, a renowned journalist, and a mover and shaker in Jewish affairs.”

[i] Sabato Morais (April 13, 1823 – November 11, 1897) was an Italian-American rabbi, leader of Mikveh Israel Synagogue, pioneer of Italian Jewish Studies in America, and founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

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.

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 Samuel Myer Isaacs – Champion of Orthodoxy (Part II)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Map of Gaza City rocket launcher sites in school yard. July 22, 2014
UN Admits: UN Schools and Facilities Used by Hamas Terrorists
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-samuel-myer-isaacs-champion-of-orthodoxy-part-ii/2012/09/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: