Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Reform and the Enlightenment
History Series / Part 2

Item #: 0050

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After Mendelssohn, the leadership of Reform Judaism passed to Abraham Geiger, who changed its doctrine drastically. Declaring Reform Judaism "the essential Judaism," Geiger denied the Torah and Talmud and adopted many practices from the German Church. The tensions between assimilation, traditionalism, and Jews' relationship with non-Jews continue to play themselves out, but in this lecture, Rabbi Wein delves into the specific example of how these conflicts were felt in the Napoleonic wars.

• Church-sanctioned vs. secular anti-Semitism - which is worse?
• Napoleon vs. the Czar - under whom did the Jews fare better?
• Geiger's changes to the Jewish prayer book and synagogue
• Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, defender and restorer of German Jewry

For more on the topic of the Reform movement and its opponents, check out our series "The Challenge of Secularism," which includes the biographies of Rabbi Hirsch, the Malbim, and others.

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