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Gustav Gottheil

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Title: Gustav Gottheil  
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Gustav Gottheil

Gustav Gottheil (May 28, 1827, Pinne/Pniewy, Grand Duchy of Posen, Prussia – April 15, 1903, New York City) was a Prussian born American rabbi. Gottheil eventually became one of the most influential, well-known and controversial Reform Jewish leaders of his time. He was the father of Richard Gottheil.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Adult life 2
  • Zionist Affiliation 3
  • Literary works 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

He was educated in Posen under Rabbi Solomon Plessner, and later continued his studies at the universities of Berlin and Halle (Ph.D.), receiving in the meanwhile his "hattarat hora'ah" in the former city from Samuel Holdheim, whose assistant he became (1855). He also studied under Zunz and Moritz Steinschneider. In 1860 he set out from the Berliner Reform Gemeinde to labor for progressive Judaism in new fields.

Adult life

In 1860 he received a call from the Association of Eastern Rabbis, and when it was assimilated with the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 1890, he took an active part in its deliberations. He was one of the founders and the president of the (American) Jewish Publication Society, vice-president of the Federation of American Zionists, chairman of the Revision Committee for the Union Prayer Book, and one of the governors of the Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati.

Dr. Gottheil's sympathies and interests were broadly universalist, as evidenced by his connection with various non-Jewish institutions as well as by many of his sermons and writings. He was one of the founders of the New York State Conference of Religions, assisting in the editing of its "Book of Common Prayers"; and a founder and for many years vice-president of the Nineteenth Century Club. In 1893 Gottheil was one of the representatives of the Jews at the Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago during the World Columbian Exposition.

Zionist Affiliation

Unlike most Reform Jews of the time, Rabbi Gottheil was a supporter of Orthodox Judaism equally reviled the infant Zionist movement. Zionism, they felt, was a betrayal of faith in God's ultimate promise of redemption. To the Orthodox, it denied the coming of the Messiah.[1]

Literary works

He published "Sarah"; and "Sun and Shield" (New York, 1896), a survey of Judaism as he saw it. Essays by Dr. Gottheil have appeared in various periodicals and collections.

He was retired as rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanu-El in October, 1899. In honor of his 75th birthday a "Gustav Gottheil Lectureship in Semitic Languages" was founded at Columbia University.

References

  1. ^ [1] Richard Gottheil, the Reluctant Father of American Zionism
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External links

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