Page 207 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

Basic HTML Version

1 9 9
The growth o f Historical Judaism received a major impetus
with the establishment o f the Jewish Theological Seminary at
Breslau under the leadership o f Zacharias Frankel. Meanwhile,
the governments o f several German states that had in the pre­
vious decade turned their backs on the traditional parties be­
came in the aftermath o f the 1848 revolutionary movement
more sympathetic to groups who promised loyalty both to law
and to regime. It was at this point that the Orthodox Jews o f
Frankfurt were also able to reassert themselves in the struggle
with Reform, and the basis was laid for the establishment o f
Frankfurt’s refurbished Orthodox community with Hirsch as
its leader.
I I . C IT A D E L O F O R T H O D O X Y
In the late 1830’s religious conflict led to division within the
Frankfurt Jewish community. The seeds o f this dissension had
lain dormant since Napoleonic times, when the Reform party,
which actually controlled the community institutions under gov­
ernment sanction, had begun to confine its religious activities
to services conducted under the auspices o f the Philanthropin
School. With the increasingly liberal atmosphere in Europe,
however, the Reformers, primarily merchants, professional
men, and bankers, urged the introduction o f religious innova­
tion in the community synagogue. The dispute centered on con­
struction o f a new building and appointment o f a new rabbi.
The rabbinate was still in the staunchly traditionalist hands o f
eighty-year-old Solomon Tr ier and his associates, who moved
to block construction o f a new synagogue, fearing that increased
pressure for religious innovations would quickly follow. The
Rothschild family negotiated a compromise in 1843, offering
to pay for a new building in return for guarantees that tra­
ditional values would continue to be honored in the synagogue.
However, the board’s appointment o f Leopold Stein as deputy
rabbi seemed to violate that agreement, and Trier resigned as
community rabbi. The Reformers were now in full control o f
the communal institutions. They had also demonstrated
through free elections that they had the allegiance o f two thirds
o f the community members.2
2 I. M. Jost,
Neuere Geschichte der Israeliten.
(Berlin, 1846-47), I, pp. 95-103,