A Reader of Early Liberal Judaism
Edited by: Kessler, Edward
Surprisingly little has been written about the origins of Liberal Judaism in England but this book examines why the movement was founded and how it developed. Kessler has selected the key writings of the four founders to demonstrate their understanding of modern Judaism. By bringing their writings together in one work, the reader is able to read about the scholarly contributions of Abrahams, the astute leadership of Montefiore, the organizational abilities of Montagu and the pastoral dynamism of Mattuck. Israel Abrahams was the foremost scholar of his time and with Claude Montefiore established the Jewish Quarterly Review, which was the first English speaking academic Jewish journal. Montefiore's influence is also illustrated by Lily Montagu's contribution to the establishment of Liberal Judaism. Montagu provided the catalyst for creation of Liberal Judaism. Israel Mattuck left a comfortable pulpit in New York and took the reins at the first Liberal synagogue in England in 1912. It was Mattuck who galvanized the small Liberal Jewish community, based around one synagogue, and transformed it into a community of synagogues.