Page 33 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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The leading ideologist of Reform Judaism in America, Dr. David
Einhorn, attacked the Cleveland conference and criticized the
prayerbook it brought forth. A year after its publication, he
published his own contribution to synagogue liturgy, the prayer-
Olat Tamid, Gebetbuch fiir Israelitische Reform Gemeinde,
in Baltimore, 1858. It was a work in German, incorporating
Hebrew prayers. These were emended to conform to the theology
of the author-editor, which he presented as the authentic Juda­
ism of the age. Unlike the Merzbacher and Wise works which
were but abridgement and revision of the traditional prayerbook
with translation, Einhorn’s flowed out of Reform ideology.
One example will suffice. Both
Minhag America
contain special services for
Tishah be-Av.
The former
terms the day “one of national mourning,” and the liturgy is
chosen from traditional sources: an “Elegy of Rabbi Judah
Halevi,” the “Elegy of Rabbi Mair,” the dirge
Eli Zion,
Olat Tamid
has a morning “Service for the Anniversary of the
Destruction of Jerusalem.” The rubric of the morning service
abridged is retained, but at its heart is a long prayer by the
reader. It reads in part:
However deeply and keenly our soul may be touched by
the recollection of the ineffable pangs with which our an­
cestors quitted their beloved home at Zion, to enter the
vast wilderness of a heathen world; or by the recollection
of the thorny path of martyrdom which our people have
since had to tread—yet, in all these sore trials we recognize
only the merciful hand of paternal guidance . . . a means of
glorifying thy name . . . before the eyes of all nations . . .
not as a disowned son thy first born went out into strange
lands, but as thy emissary to all the families of man. The
one temple in Jerusalem sank into the dust, in order that
countless temples might arise to thy honor and glory all
over the wide surface of the globe . . . Grant, O God, that
Israel may recognize the aim of his wanderings and tend
toward it with undivided strength and cheerful courage . . .
The mission idea was central to mid-nineteenth century Re­
form ideology, and it finds expression and emphasis in Einhorn’s
prayerbook: “The purpose of Jewish existence is to be a prophet