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By Melvin I. Urofsky

Within the first 1/2 this century, a skilled and charismatic management restructured the yank Jewish group to fulfill the calls for and possibilities of a pluralistic, secular society. The paintings of this new release of titans nonetheless publications the present modes of yankee Jewish lifestyles. The final of those giants was once the influential reformer Stephen S. Wise--a progenitor of yankee Zionism, writer of the yankee and global Jewish Congresses, and founding father of the Jewish Institute of faith. As rabbi of the loose Synagogue, clever led the struggle for a dwelling Judaism attentive to social problems.

This engrossing learn is greater than a chronicle of an ethnic community's adjustment to a number society. because of Melvin Urofsky's painstaking examine, it succeeds in revealing the genuine tale at the back of a mythical and arguable determine in American Jewish historical past.

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Margolis, then checked and emended by the editorial committee of the Society. 39 Whether or not Stephen Wise had the intellectual abilities to do either of these works is a question that will probably never be completely answered. Despite his oft-repeated wish that he would have preferred a scholarly life, everything in his temperament indicates that the arena of activism and not a scholar's study was his true domain. He was not averse to ideas, nor frightened by them; indeed, his wide range of acquaintances and reading indicate a curious mind, a man eager to learn about new areas.

But their work with Kohut remained special, involving love as well as learning. Even after Wise returned from studies in Europe and held a pulpit, he and his two friends continued studying Talmud with the elder Kohut. In 1894, as Alexander Kohut lay dying, he insisted that "his boys" should not be deprived of their lessons. His wife later recalled the old teacher in bed, too weak to hold the volume they were studying and the young men taking turns holding the book for him as he gave them their lessons.

Nehama A. Chalom, and her assistants, Rhonda Epstein and Shoshana Kafri. The late Meyer Weisgal and his wife Shirley opened their home to me, and in between regaling me with Yiddish jokes and stories about Wise, Weisgal permitted me to examine his private papers. Similarly, Dr. Israel Goldstein and Rabbi Morton Berman also allowed me to examine their personal papers relating to Wise. The staff of the Interlibrary Loan Division at VCU once again tolerated incessant demands, and I am grateful to Janet Howell and Eileen Meagher for their help.

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