Photo Credit: Jewish Press


Dr. Drachman, who was in the forefront of everything Orthodox during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, was greatly influenced by RSRH’s TIDE ideology. In his short biographical sketch of Rav Hirsch that he added to his translation of the Nineteen Letters, he writes:

Samson Raphael Hirsch was, indeed, a “prince and a great man” in Israel; a rare and noble figure in the Judaism of the century now so rapidly nearing its end.

He possessed the faculty of thoroughly convincing and winning his followers, of inspiring them with the same enthusiasm which burnt within his breast. The future of Judaism, of the ages-old historical Judaism, is safe in Germany in the keeping of those reared under the influence of his spirit, for he gave them that which alone can secure the wellbeing of a religion, profound attachment to it as the one priceless treasure of their lives, and an unyielding consistency and fidelity which will render permanently impossible anything like profane or sacrilegious trifling with the precepts of their most sacred heritage.

Nor is the influence of his spirit confined to the immediate circle of his own congregation, splendid though this latter be; far beyond the confines of the queenly city of Frankfort-on-the-Main, where his chief life-work was done, throughout Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Russia, it has worked wonders upon the minds of Judah’s children; and wherever Judaism is threatened, apparently in its very existence, and seems hopelessly delivered over to the twin destructive and disintegrating influences of modern anti-religionism and mediaeval superstition and unculture, an approach to the ideal set by Hirsch seems the only way out of the almost insuperable difficulty.[v]



[i] This book is available online through Google books at

[ii] The Unfailing Light: Memoirs of an American Rabbi by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman, Rabbinical Council of America, New York, 1948.

[iii] Memorial Journal published by Congregation Zichron Ephraim, 3/31/1946. Available at

[iv] The Unfailing Light, pages 123 – 125.

[v] pages xi – xii.


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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 then taught as an adjunct at Stevens until 2014. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at [email protected].