17 July 1810 Birth of Reform Judaism at Seesen, Germany #otdimjh
Reform Judaism was launched on this date in 1810 with the opening of the first Reform “temple” in Seesen, Germany. The event was marked by an elaborate ceremony, with a procession of rabbis, the ringing of bells, and a choir performance in both Hebrew and German.
Israel Jacobson, a philanthropist and learned Jew, launched the movement in order to enable Judaism to survive in a modern form that reflected the paradigm shifts of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, and to stem the tide of conversion to Christianity that was overtaking Western Europe’s Jews. Jacobson had already established a school in Seesen where Jewish and Christian children were educated together for free; it lasted for more than a century. The congregation gathered in the school’s chapel (it was not until 1818 that the first freestanding Reform temple was established, in…
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