Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
pects o f m ou rn ing and his works were considered by many the
most authoritative for any questions that arose.
One o f the major issues tha t agitated American Jewry du r ing
the 1930s was the problem o f the Agunah. Louis M. Epstein
was born in Lithuania in 1887 and em igrated to America in
1904. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary, was o r ­
dained in 1913 and was considered one o f the leading American
Conservative rabbis o f the early pa r t o f the 20th century. After
serving in various communities, he became the rabbi o f Con­
gregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline, Mass. in 1925 and
served there until he died in 1949. In 1930, Epstein proposed
a solution to the problem o f the Agunah by changing the text
and arrangem en ts at the wedding ceremony. It first appeared
in a volume entitled
Hatsa’ah Lema’an Takanat Agunot.
T h e re ­
action o f the O rthodox Rabbis was sharp. T h e Union o f O r­
thodox Rabbis published a volume devoted to the subject and
attacking Epstein in 1937. Ano ther volume by Rabbi Jacob
Gershon Shain appeared the same year taking a similar position
and a th ird volume by Rabbi Joseph Baer Levin, published in
1942, took the identical stand.
Epstein himself expanded his views in a volume entitled
Li-
She’elat ha-Agunah
published in 1940. Because o f the opposition
o f the O rthodox rabbinate and some o f the members o f the
faculty o f the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative
rabbinate as well eventually abandoned Epstein’s solution to the
problem.
MISCELLANEOUS WORKS
In addition to the titles noted in the previous sections, over
forty volumes appeared falling into various miscellaneous cat­
egories. T h e most extensive was biography which saw the ap ­
pearance o f nine volumes.
Benzion Eisenstadt published in 1919 a volume devoted to
the life o f Rabbi Chaim Brisker, including both a eulogy upon
his dea th and an extensive evaluation o f his contribution to tal­
mudic scholarship. Eisenstadt continued his biographical works
with the publication o f
Anshe ha-Shem be-Artsot ha-Berit
in 1933
and the three-volume
Dorot ha-Aharonim
which began publica­
tion in 1936.
In 1935, there appeared a festchrift hono ring the 70th b ir th ­