Page 208 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
During the late 1830’s and the 1840’s, the Reformers enjoyed
the support o f the Senate, which ruled Frankfurt. In a number
o f disputes, including those over circumcision and Stein’s ap­
pointment as deputy rabbi, the Senate refused to assist the O r­
thodox party. A fter 1848, however, a group o f Orthodox lead­
ers obtained Senate support fo r the organization o f the
Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft, an autonomous congregation
that soon became known as the “model community” o f modern
Orthodoxy. The I.R.G. was well supported by the Frankfurt
Rothschilds and other wealthy members o f the community. In
1851 it attracted Samson Raphael Hirsch, then State Rabbi o f
Moravia, to Frankfurt. Hirsch served the Orthodox community
in Frankfurt until his death in 1888.3 Under his leadership and
with readily available financial means, the I.R.G. was able to
provide its members and the larger community with the insti­
tutions needed for a full religious life. It soon opened a school
that combined religious and secular education. As in the
Philanthropin School o f the Reformers, the emphasis in the
secular curriculum was on subjects related to commerce. The
synagogue service was conducted under the auspices o f a cantor
with the accompaniment o f an all-male choir, and original music
for the service as composed by the choir director, I.M. Japhet.4
The IRG also provided its members with the full spectrum o f
religious functions including kosher butchers, bakers, restau­
rants, and a ritual bath.
By the time o f emancipation in 1864, membership in the
I.R.G. had grown to about 300 families, all o f whom paid full
membership dues both to the I.R.G. and to the officially rec­
ognized Jewish community. During the 1850’s and 1860’s, the
I.R.G. had frequently petitioned the Frankfurt Senate to re­
structure the Jewish community so that the I.R.G. would be­
come a full and equal component. Similar arrangements, pro­
viding for parallel Reform and Orthodox congregations, had
I I I , pp. 205-218.
3 On the found ing o f the I.R.G ., see E. Schwarzschild,
Die Gruendung der
Israelitischen Religionsgesellschaft
(Frankfurt: 1896). Th e history o f the I.R.G.
in its broader social and political context is described in Robert Liberies,
Religious Conflict,
chap. III .
4 O n life in the I.R.G . community, see the memoirs o f Herm ann Schwab,
Aus der Schuetzenstrasse
(Frankfurt: 1923), and
Memoirs o f Frankfurt
(London :
1955).