Changes in the Modern Sermon

By: Marc Saperstein

The Encyclopedia of Judaism, Volume 5, Supplement 2, edited by Jacob Neusner, Alan J. Avery-Peck, and William Scott Green (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2004), pp. 2265-2283.


A. From Exegesis to Exposition: Perhaps the greatest transformation in the sermon of the modern period is that the exegetical dimension lost its centrality, and often became peripheral, or disappeared entirely. In the Middle Ages and early modern periods, the interpretation of Biblical verses and rabbinic statements was such an integral component of the sermon that in some cases the boundary line between the genres of sermon and commentary became blurred.[1] Indeed many medieval sermons contain extensive passages in the "homily" form, in which the preacher discusses a series of consecutive verses from the Biblical lesson or one of the Psalms. One of the favorite rhetorical forms used by preachers and commentators alike was to raise a series of exegetical and conceptual problems in a Scriptural passage or rabbinic aggadah, and then to resolve each problem in the course of the ongoing discussion.[2]

In the nineteenth century, whether in Sephardic or Ashkenazic, Orthodox or Reform preaching, this exegetical impulse diminished dramatically. It is not that the textually based sermon was completely abandoned (although in some cases, in the late-nineteenth and twentieth century, it was, as will be noted below). Many nineteenth-century and some twentieth-century sermons begin with a Biblical verse, called by the preacher his "text," though the verse is not necessarily from the Torah lesson of the week. Isaac Mayer Wise, leader of the American Reform movement, counselled, "Never preach a sermon without a text from the Bible, a text containing the theme which you can elaborate. The text is the best proof in support of your argument. A sermon without a text is an argument without a proof."[3] The preacher may spend some time discussing the original context of the verse before applying it to the main issue he wants to address. Occasionally the preacher will use the various parts of the verse as headings that structure the divisions of his sermon. Absent in the mainstream sermons, however, is the preoccupation of medieval and early modern preachers with exegetical problems: identifying the difficulties in the verse, reviewing the attempts by earlier commentators to resolve the problems before the preacher suggests his own solution, proposing various interpretations of the verse, each with its homiletical significance. Where homiletical exegesis had been the center of gravity for the earlier preachers, now the verse becomes a springboard catapulting the preacher into the central topic for his address.[4]

The detailed exploration and exegesis of rabbinic texts plays even less of a role in the modern sermon. In the classical Sephardic form, a rabbinic dictum was cited at the beginning of the sermon immediately after the "text" from the Scriptural lesson, and the dictum, homiletically interpreted, was eventually incorporated into the sermon.[5]  A few of the Sephardic preachers at the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London continued this tradition into the eighteenth and early-nineteenth century. But by the middle of the century, this homiletical tradition was largely ignored or forgotten.[6] Where rabbinic statements appear in the sermons, they are simply cited, rarely analyzed or probed.


B. New Occasions: The traditional occasions—Sabbath, holy days, life-cycle events, dedication of a new synagogue building—remain. But in some environments associated with new movements in Judaism, the context for the major weekly sermon shifted dramatically. In late nineteenth-century America, many large Reform congregations began to hold weekday worship services on Sunday mornings, the only day of the week when all would be free to attend. Since the liturgical component of such gatherings was significantly curtailed in comparison with Shabbat worship, the major focus of the gathering was a rather lengthy sermon, lecture, or address delivered by the rabbi. Some of the most celebrated, eloquent, and influential liberal Jewish preachers in the United States, including Stephen S. Wise, drew their largest audiences on Sunday mornings.

By the middle of the twentieth century, this practice had all but disappeared, to be replaced by a new focus for American Jewish preaching: the late Friday evening service. Traditionally, the Friday evening service was relatively brief; its timing depended upon the sunset, to be followed by the Sabbath evening meal in the home. As the mandated Scriptural readings occurred in the morning, sermons were rarely included in the evening service.[7] In the twentieth century, Reform and many Conservative synagogues began to set the Friday evening service at a fixed time, unchanging throughout the year, late enough to follow rather than precede the Shabbat evening meal. The idea was that this service would be the central activity for families on Friday nights. Since the liturgy remained fairly brief, there was ample time for a twenty or twenty-five minute sermon.[8]

These new contexts affected the substance of the discourse. Most rabbis who gave a major address on Sunday morning or on Friday night also had Shabbat services on Saturday morning, when the Torah was read, and when their message was generally connected with the Scriptural reading. This liberated the addresses on Sunday or Friday from the need to be anchored in a fixed Scriptural passage. The Sunday morning or Friday evening discourse could be on any topic the preacher considered to be of interest and concern to the listeners, opening up a wide range of political and cultural as well as religious themes. With titles often announced in advance, a controversial topic became a major motivation for coming to the synagogue.

In addition, from the eighteenth century on, we find sermons delivered by Jewish preachers on occasions not of specifically Jewish concern, but rather pertaining to the wider society in which Jews are living. On such occasions both Jews and Christians would be in their respective places of worship listening to the religious message of their respective leaders; this sense of a shared experience influenced the identity of Jewish communities in their various countries. Through the first third of the nineteenth century, when synagogues in both Britain and the United States had no established tradition of a regular weekly Sabbath sermon, the occasional sermon on dates established by governmental authorities was one of the most important opportunities for pulpit discourse.

One such occasion was the Day of Fast, Humiliation, and Intercession proclaimed by the government. The causes of such proclamations could be natural events, such as the Lisbon Earthquake, a cholera plague, or the potato famine. All too common was the outbreak of war, or a defeat of the nation's armies (see below). In America, Gershom Mendes Seixas, Hazzan of New York's Shearith Israel Synagogue, preached there on May 9, 1798, a day of fasting and national humiliation proclaimed by President John Adams in the context of an unofficial naval war with France.[9] A "National Fast Day" was proclaimed for January 4, 1861, and Jewish preachers used the occasion not only to express their hope for the preservation of the Union, but also to stake their position on the incendiary issue of slavery (see below).

The death of a monarch or member of the royal family was an occasion for shared mourning, articulated through pulpit discourse. One of the most challenging such tasks for the preacher was the 1780 death of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, widely known as perhaps the most anti-Jewish monarch of the eighteenth century. Yet at a solemn memorial service, Prague Rabbi Ezekiel Landau eulogized the Empress in flattering terms that appear to express a genuine admiration for qualities appreciated by contemporaries in the larger community.[10] At the death of Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1888, Moritz Levin, the preacher of the Berlin Reform-Gemeinde, delivered a eulogy at the memorial service entitled "Kaiser Wilhelm: ein Messias unserer Zeit."[11]

Jewish preachers in Britain eulogized every British monarch, and many of these sermons were published. Not surprisingly, special eloquence was inspired at the death of Queen Victoria. Her long reign, earlier commemorated in sermons at her diamond jubilee in 1897, allowed Jewish leaders to review and to celebrate the dramatic improvements in Jewish status under her watch. As one preacher put it, "We Jews shall never forget that it was during her reign that we lost the Ghetto bend and learned to stand erect. Sixty-four years ago, the Jew, even in this land of enlightenment, was a barely tolerated alien. He was excluded from the boon of a liberal University education. He was ineligible for State Service. He was debarred from Parliamentary representation. What a marvellous change has taken place in two short generations, thanks largely to the example of good Queen Victoria."[12]

In the United States, the most poignant inspiration for preaching in the nineteenth century was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This occurred on Friday night; Isaac Leeser in New York learned of the shooting from newspapers the following morning while walking to the synagogue, and the news of Lincoln's death was disclosed during the Shabbat morning worship service. Virtually every American rabbi spoke on the following Wednesday, April 19, a National Day of Mourning as Lincoln's body was being brought to its burial place in Illinois.[13] These sermons reveal a sustained effort to articulate the special qualities of Lincoln as human being and political leadersometimes using explicitly messianic rhetoricand later to apply these qualities to the contemporary challenges of the body politic.

Almost a century later, President John F. Kennedy was killed in the middle of the day on Friday, at a time when most rabbis were well along in the process of preparing what they planned to say that evening or the following morning. Suddenly, to preach the planned sermon seemed inconceivable. The challenge was to decide what to say a few hours later, when synagogues throughout the country would be filled to overflowing with Jews who expected and needed to hear some articulation of the meaning of this disaster from the pulpit.[14]

Occasionally, sermons were delivered at the death of non-Jewish figures beyond the category of national leadership. A striking example is the tribute by Reform Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver to Pope Pius XI on February 19, 1939.[15] Needless to say, the death of a leading rabbi, or of a non-rabbinical Jewish leader, was an occasion for homiletical oratory, the continuation of a tradition going back for centuries.

Other government-mandated occasions for preaching were times for celebration and thanksgiving: military victories, an abundant harvest following a famine, the escape from an epidemic ravaging other areas. The earliest known English sermon delivered on the American continent, on August 15, 1763 was occasioned by a day of thanksgiving proclaimed by the civil authorities of New York following the peace treaty that ended the French and Indian War.[16] When George Washington proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving, following the request by both houses of Congress, for Thursday, November 26, 1789, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was requested by the lay leaders of Shearith Israel to provide an appropriate service of thanksgiving, and the discourse he delivered was printed a few weeks later.[17] Another day of thanksgiving, though in a more somber mood, was designated for Thursday, November 29, 1860, on which Isaac Leeser and other Jewish preachers delivered special discourses.[18]

Other celebratory preaching occasions include the coronation of a new monarch, the Jubilee anniversary of a monarch, the birth of a child in the royal family, the recovery of a monarch from a serious illness. In addition, there were occasions of celebration internal to the Jewish community: the installation of a new Chief Rabbi, the inaugural sermon of a rabbi coming to an important new position, the laying of a cornerstone for a new synagogue building or the consecration of the synagogue when the building is completed. In Britain, the Chief Rabbi was frequently invited to preach for such occasions; in America, well-known preachers were asked to travel some distance to grace the new pulpit. Frequently such occasions were used to define publicly the principles for which the rabbi or the synagogue stood.


C. Different Media for Preservation: A third transformation in the modern Jewish sermon pertains not to the sermon itself but to its influence after it was delivered. The extant texts of pre-modern sermons are predominantly the preacher's collections of his own work, copied by scribes, which were either safeguarded in libraries (occasionally in private collections) or printed. This format was relatively unusual in the first half of the nineteenth century; it regained popularity, in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with hundreds of such collections in many different languages. (In the English language, the first published collection of Jewish sermons was apparently the two volumes of Isaac Leeser's Discourses on the Jewish Religion, published at Philadelphia in 1837, followed by an 1839 translation of sermons delivered by Gotthold Salomon in the Hamburg Temple during the 1820s, and then the 1851 volume by David Woolf Marks of the West London Synagogue of British Jews, containing sermons from the 1840s. Collections by German preachers preceded these.)[19]

Related are collections of contemporary sermons by different rabbis. A striking nineteenth-century example is The American Jewish Pulpit: A Collection of Sermons by the Most Eminent American Rabbis (Cincinnati: Bloch & Co., 1881), including examples by eighteen different rabbis (some translated from German) representing a spectrum of theological positions. In the twentieth century, similar collections cut across denominational lines.[20] The Reform Movement in the United States began to publish an annual "Set of Holiday Sermons" in pamphlet form, representing the preaching of the Reform rabbinate on the holy days of the Jewish calendar; this was published from 1906 to 1965. The Orthodox Rabbinical Council began publishing a Manual of Holiday and Sabbath Sermons in 1943 and continued virtually every year from 1951 through its Jubilee Anthology of 1985.

Beginning in the eighteenth century, options other than books became available for the preservation and dissemination of the sermon text. Especially appropriate for the occasional sermons described above, we find an increasing number of sermons printed in pamphlet form and sold or otherwise distributed soon after the time of its delivery. Some were translated from the language of delivery into the language of the host country. Publication was often at the initiative of the lay leadership of the synagogue where the sermon was delivered, reflecting a desire on the part of this lay leadership to give wider exposure to the sentiments expressed from their pulpits.

Some of these printed sermons were used for political purposes. When Morris Raphall of New York delivered his famous (or infamous) "pro-slavery" sermon on January 4, 1861, arguing that slavery was not considered a sin in the Bible, it was reprinted in pamphlet form and distributed by the Unionist party leaders, according to a contemporary diarist, in "hundreds of thousands of copies … in all the states of the Union," generating an enormous controversy.[21] After the British Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler's patriotic sermon of November 4, 1899, following serious military reverses suffered by British troops in South Africa (see below), 600 copies were circulated to the press, and bound copies sent to the Queen and leading ministers of the government.[22] What was said in the synagogue pulpit was thought to be of interest beyond its walls.

Printing sermons in ephemeral form continued into the twentieth century. Some rabbis (Joseph Krauskopf in Philadelphia, J. Leonard Levy in Pittsburgh) had their weekly addresses transcribed and printed, in Krauskopf's case over a period of thirty-six years.[23] A different yet related pattern, still current though going back to the nineteenth century, is for a congregation to subsidize the publication of its rabbi's sermons for the Days of Awe in a particular year or on a regular basis. Such pamphlets are generally distributed to the membership of the congregation and to rabbinical colleagues.[24]

Jewish periodicals and journals of the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth century regularly printed sermons by leading preachers.[25] The general press also showed occasional interest in Jewish sermons. Raphall's "pro-slavery" sermon of January 1861 was printed in the New York Herald; newspapers carried forceful rebuttals to the thesis of the sermon by other rabbis. Some of the sermons delivered at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln were preserved in newspaper articles.[26]

Sermons by southern rabbis Max Heller of New Orleans and William Fineshriber in Memphis in the first decades of the twentieth century were summarized and cited, often quite sympathetically, in the local press.[27] On December 21, 1925, "The New York Times" reported on a sermon by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise entitled "Jesus the Jew," which argued that Jesus was a great moral leader, whose faith and life are "a part of the Jewish possessions and of the very fiber of our Jewish heritage."  In response, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis demanded Wise's resignation as national chairman of the United Palestine Appeal.[28]  New York Reform Rabbi Louis I. Newman's strong pulpit condemnations of British policy toward Palestine following the 1939 White Paper, extensively reported by "The New York Times," led to pressure from the Board of his synagogue for him to resign from his leadership position in the militant revisionist Zionist organization.[29]

The final decade of the twentieth century witnessed a new mode of preserving and disseminating sermon texts: placing them on the website of the congregation where they were delivered. Whether this should be classified in the ephemeral or more permanent category of sermon preservation remains to be seen.


[1] See Marc Saperstein, Jewish Preaching, 1200-1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 74, n. 26. Some famous preachers (Moses Alsheikh of Safed is a prime example) published Biblical commentaries using material from their sermons re-organized in accordance with the order of Biblical verses.


[2] See Marc Saperstein, "The Method of Doubts: "The Problematizing of Scripture in the Late Middle Ages," in With Reverence for the Word, edited by J. D. McAuliffe, B. D. Walfish, and J. W. Goering (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 133-56.


[3] Wise in American Israelite, September 21, 1899, p. 4, cited by Robert Friedenberg, "Hear O Israel" (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989), p. 71.


[4] See on this change the classical study  by Alexander Altmann, "The New Style of Preaching in Nineteenth-Century German Jewry," in Studies in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Intellectual History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964), pp. 65-116.


[5] This form may be seen in the 1756 Fast Day sermon of Isaac Nieto (see Cecil Roth, Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica [London: JHSE, 1937], p. 323 no. 17), the sermon that Haim Isaac Carigal delivered in Newport on Shavuot 1773 ("Rabbi Carigal Preaches in Newport," [Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1966)], the fast day sermon of Moses Cohen de Azevedo in 1776 (Roth, p. 325, no. 26) (but not in the Thanksgiving Day sermon of November 126, 1789 by Gershom Mendes Seixas [below, n. 19]).


[6] David de Sola, preaching on March 24, 1847 in Bevis Marks on the day of a general fast because of the potato famine (not listed in Roth; I used the copy in the British Library), exemplifies the tradition, beginning by citing Isaiah 16:9, followed by Shabbat 55a ("Death is the result of sin"). But the continuation of the sermon had little to do with either of these texts. Abraham P. Mendes of Birmingham, England, began his published sermons (London: John Chapman, 1855) with a Torah text, but without a rabbinic dictum.


[7] For unusual evidence of Friday night preaching in certain eighteenth-century European communities, see Saperstein, Jewish Preaching, p. 28.


[8] On the late Friday evening service, see the sources listed in Kimmy Caplan, "The Life and Sermons of Rabbi Israel Herbert Levinthal," American Jewish History 87 (1999): 12, n. 40.


[9] See on this Friedenberg, "Hear O Israel," pp. 13-16.


[10] Marc Saperstein, "Your Voice Like a Ram's Horn" (Cincinnati: HUC Press, 1996), pp. 445-84.


[11] "Kaiser Wilhelm ein Messias unserer Zeit. Rede bei dem Trauer-Gottesdienst der juedischen Reform-Gemeinde zu Berlin zum Gedaechntnis Sr. Majestaet des hochseligen Kaisers und Koenigs am 18 Maerz gehalten von M. Levin" (Berlin: Rosenthal & Co., 1888), Leo Baeck Institute pamphlet DD 223.9 L4 K3. Fifty years later (April 6, 1934), in a Pesach sermon criticizing the super-patriotism and assimilationist aspirations of German Jewry, Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz exemplified by referring to "the Rabbi of the Berlin Liberal Synagogue who published a sermon under the title, Kaiser Wilhelm: ein Messias unserer Zeit (Sermons, Addresses and Studies,  3 vols. [London: Soncino Press, 1938], 1:156).


[12] Rev. Moses Hyamson, The Oral Law and Other Sermons (London: David Nutt, 1910) (Dayan of the United Synagogue), eulogy delivered February 2, 1901, p. 165. See also the eulogy of the Chief Rabbi, Hermann Adler, in Anglo-Jewish Memories and Other Sermons (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1909), pp. 117-25.


[13] Some fourteen of these sermons—in English and in German, some published immediately as pamphlets, others preserved in different forms—were gathered together with dozens of sermons from the following Sabbath and on subsequent anniversaries of Lincoln's births in a marvellous collection called Abraham Lincoln: The Tribute of the Synagogue, edited by Emanuel Hertz ((New York: Bloch, 1927).


[14] See, for example, Jacob Rudin, Very Truly Yours (New York: Bloch, 1971), pp. 273–74; Harold Saperstein, Witness from the Pulpit (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2000), pp. 226-29; John Raynor, A Jewish Understanding of the World (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1998), pp. 102-3; Immanuel Jakobovits, Journal of a Rabbi (London: W.H. Allen, 1967), pp. 271–75; Israel Brodie, "Tribute to the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Spoken . . . at the Marble Arch Synagogue, London, on Sabbath, 30th November, 1963" (London: Office of the Chief Rabbi, 1963). Unfortunately, no systematic effort has been made to collect the records of what was said on that Shabbat. At an analogous situation in Francethe assassination of the President by an anarchist in 1894the Chief Rabbi Zadoc Kahn preached at the memorial service (Michael Marrus, The Politics of Assimilation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), p. 145.


[15] Abba Hillel Silver, A Word In Its Season (New York: World Publishing, 1972), pp. 359–65. There has been controversy in recent years about the role of this pope with regard to the Jews, but Silver, a strong leader of American Zionism, shows no ambivalence. The deceased was "not given to adroitness or evasion. He was not a diplomat. He was a man of God." He denounced "the false Christianity of the Nazis," "extreme nationalism," "anti-Semitism." He was, in short, one of the "righteous among the Gentiles." Of course, the eulogy is a genre not given to a balanced evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of character, but there was no need for Silver to devote his sermon to the late Pope at all. Hermann Gollancz eulogized Cardinal Manning in 1892, and Frederick, late Emperor of Germany in 1888: Sermons and Addresses (New York: Bloch, 1909), pp. 315–17, 270–72.


[16] Joseph Jeshurun Pinto at New York's Shearith Israel Congregation; see Friedenberg, "Hear O Israel," pp. 5-6.


[17] Gershom Mendes Seixas, "A Religious Discourse: Thanksgiving Day Sermon, November 26, 1789" (New York, Archibald M'Lean, 1789, republished by the Jewish Historical Society of New York in 1977), pp. ix, 12, 13-14. On this sermon see Raphael Mahler, "Yahadut Ameriqah ve-Ra'ayon Shivat le-Tsiyon bi-Tequfat ha-Mahpekhah ha-Ameriqanit," Zion 15 (1950):106–34, and Friedenberg, "Hear O Israel," pp. 10–12.


[18] Isaac Leeser, Discourses on the Jewish Religion, 10 vols. (Philadelphia: Sherman & Co., 1827), 9:148-63, address at the Franklin Street Synagogue, Philadelphia. In 1863, Thanksgiving was made into an annual national holiday.


[19] Leeser, Discourses, vols. 1 and 2; on the original 1937 publication of these volumes, see Sussman, Isaac Leeser, p. 88. Gotthold Salomon, Twelve Sermons Delivered in the New Temple of the Israelites at Hamburgh, transl. by Anna Maria Goldsmid (London: John Murray, 1839). (Three of Salomon's sermons had been translated and published in Dutch in 1825: Wallet, "Religious Oratory," p. 174). D. W. Marks, Sermons Preached on Various Occasions (vol. 1) (London: R. Groombridge & Sons, 1851). This volume is said to have been "undertaken at the request of the Council of Founders" of the West London Synagogue, considered important because of a "dearth of Jewish discourses in the English language." According to Curtis Cassell's unpublished biography of Marks (loaned to me by the author's son, David Cassell), the book was extensively reviewed both in the Jewish press and in the "Christian Reformer" and "Kitto's Journal of Sacred Literature." ("David Woolf Marks: Father of Anglo-Jewish Reform," p. 37.


[20] Abraham Lincoln: The Tribute of the Synagogue; The Rabbis Speak: A Quarter Century of Sermons for the High Holy Days from the New York Board of Rabbis (New York: NYBR, 1986), ed. by Saul I. Teplitz; the Best Jewish Sermons series, ed. by Saul I. Teplitz (New York: Jonathan David); Living Words: Best High Holy Day Sermons, 5759, 5760, 5761, 5762 (NY: Sh'ma).


[21] The text of the sermon is accessible at:; a diarist on the printing of sermon: (January 7, 1861). Cf. Friedenberg, "Hear O Israel," pp. 46–52; Bertram Korn states that "This sermon aroused more comment and attention than any other sermon ever delivered by an American Rabbi," American Jewry and the Civil War (Philadelphia: JPS, 1951), p. 17.


[22] Geoffrey Alderman, The Jewish Community in British Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 43-44. For the text of sermon, see Adler, Anglo-Jewish Memories, pp. 106–16.


[23] According to Israel Levinthal, who reported on Krauskopf's Sunday lectures for a Philadelphia newspaper as a high school student, the entire text of each lecture was written in advance and memorized by Krauskopf, who spoke pacing from one end of the pulpit to the other (The Message of Israel [New York: Lex Printing Co., 1973), pp. 145-46. On Levy, see Solomon B. Freehof and Vigdor W. Kavaler, eds., J. Leonard Levy: Prophetic Voice (Pittsburgh: Rodeph Shalom Congregation, 1970), pp. xi, 41. In addition to the sixteen cycles of his Pittsburgh sermons, eight cycles of Philadelphia sermons were published in his form. Needless to say, the historical value of such texts is considerable.


[24] E.g. "On the Height: Five Sermons delivered on New Year's Eve and Morning, September 21st and 22nd; on the Eve, Morning, and Evening of the Day of Atonement, October 1st and 2nd, 1892," by Isaac S. Moses, Rabbi of Kehillath Anshe Mayriv, Chicago (JTSA digital copy at


[25] For example, the first Jewish periodical in the German language, Sulamith; Isaac Leeser's Occident; Samuel Isaacs' Jewish Messenger; Isaac Mayer Wise's American Israelite and its rival Jewish South; the Jewish Chronicle all printed full texts of sermons on a regular basis.


[26] A particularly moving example is an article in the San Francisco Daily of April 16, 1865, apparently written by a member of Congregation Emanuel, which reports that the Rabbi, Elkan Cohn, was handed a note informing him of Lincoln's death as he ascended the pulpit to deliver the sermon he had prepared. Initially overcome with emotion, the rabbi recovered and spoke extemporaneously, the correspondent recording for his article the "substance" of the words that, he confesses, does not do justice to the eloquence of the moment, yet retains its power in print. Tribute of the Synagogue, p. 138.


[27] See the essays by Bobbie Malone and Berkley Kalin in Bauman and Kalin, The Quiet Voices: Southern Rabbis and Black Civil Rights, 1880s to 1990s (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997), and citations below.


[28] Stephen S. Wise: Servant of the People, ed. Carl Voss (Philadelphia, 1970), pp. 132–33.


[29] Rafael Medoff, Militant Zionism in America (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2002), pp. 65–66, reference to Times articles on p. 237 n. 73.