Bruce L. Ruben, Max Lilienthal - The Making of the American Rabbinate. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 2012

  1. Date/Time

  2. Location

    Center for Jewish History

    15 W. 16th St.
    New York, NY 10011


  3. Admission

    Members: $10
    Non-members: $15

The development of all three branches of Judaism in  America was directly influenced by German rabbinical  traditions, especially reform Judaism, and especially by  Rabbi Max Lilienthal. The institutional foundations for the American reform movement can all be traced to this  19th century Rabbi who comes to life in Cantor Ruben’s  new biography.

Too often remembered as an associate of Rabbi Isaac  Mayer Wise, German born Rabbi Lilienthal (1814-82) came to the U.S. and explored new initiatives to bring  his growing immigrant community into the mainstream  of American society. Lilienthal’s fervent Haskalah ideology was shaped by his familiarity with the tensions within early 19th century German Jewish life. Using that Enlightenment ideology, he went to Russia to Reform the system of Jewish education, then to America  where American culture influenced his approach to the  Rabbinate. For students of German Haskalah as well as American reform Judaism, Max Lilienthal is a seminal  figure.

Bruce Ruben is the director of the School of Sacred  Music at Hebrew Union College. Previously he served for twenty years as the cantor of Temple Shaaray Tefila  and earned his doctorate in Jewish history.