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I apologize for the length of this manuscript in terms of a conference presentation but this
work in progress provides the larger context. For the presentation I intend to concentrate
on the first 16 pages and possibly touch on 29-34 in discussion. The reader is free to do
the same. MKB
Reform at Baltimore’s Har Sinai Verein
Mark K. Bauman
[Copyright reserved by the author. Please do not quote without permission.]
The experiences in the two cradles of Reform in America, Charleston and
Baltimore, differ seemingly in a dramatic fashion. South Carolina welcomed Jews during
the seventeenth century with its liberal Fundamental Constitutions. One of the original
colonial congregations called Charleston home. Typical of the others, it followed the
Sephardic rite and organizational structure even though the majority of the members were
Ashkenazim. By the 1820s the Jewish community, the largest in the United States,
included individuals from a variety of homelands as well as second and third generation
Jewish Americans. In 1824 a group of men petitioned the adjunta of Charleston’s K.K.
Beth Elohim (KKBE) to bring decorum and modernity to the service. When their
petition was denied, they transformed their organization into a congregation, the Reform
Society of Israelites. Although they were aware of developments in the Germanic States,
theirs was an indigenous movement. These American-born scions of colonial, often
Sephardic Jewry sought services with decorum that would both retain Americanized Jews
within the fold and be acceptable to Christian visitors. They tread their own way
developing hymns, composing what has been called the first Reform prayer book, and

Page 2
being more inclusive in relation to women. Small in number and the brunt of the wrath of
KKBE, the congregation died out within fifteen years. Participants either moved on or
rejoined the parent congregation. Yet what they had begun did not perish. Under the
leadership of the Reverend Gustavus Poznanski and through their influence, KKBE
moved along the path of Reform. The leaders of the Reform Society are characterized as
young, well educated, acculturated, politically conscious men on the rise. They may not
have been deeply involved in KKBE before the schism, but they made a major impact on
the congregation.
The Baltimore story reads seemingly in stark contrast. The weak economy and
passage of discriminatory laws discouraged Jewish settlement in Maryland. Until shortly
before the American Revolution only scattered individuals entered Baltimore. An
estimated 150 Jews lived in the state when they finally won full political rights with the
passage of the Maryland Jew Bill in 1826. These early settlers including the native born,
many of whom were already achieving economic success, did not participate when
Baltimore’s first congregation, Nidche Yisrael or the Scattered of Israel (later called the
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation), was organized in 1830.
The congregation was
established by Jews who had first settled in Richmond, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in
America as well as recent immigrants from Poland, Holland, Britain, and especially
Bavaria. Baltimore became a New Jerusalem for Bavarian Jews and the population
increased to such an extent that it emerged as an important Jewish center within a decade.
In 1840 the congregation attracted the first ordained rabbi to hold an American pulpit.
Bavarian Abraham Rice (c. 1800-1862) received training in Furth and Wurzburg before
being ordained by Abraham Wolf Bamburger and Abraham Bing. Lacking a university

Page 3
degree, he taught and then headed a Talmudic academy in Zell before immigrating to
America in 1840 for personal and economic reasons. Talmudic scholar and
uncompromising defender of tradition, he failed to master English and denounced those
who broke the dietary laws or intermarried. Rice directed that the congregation not
respond with “Amen” if someone who did not observe the Sabbath gave the blessing
before the Torah. The last straw for some congregants came when a charter member,
Jacob Arens (or Aaron) (1798-1842), died.
To Rice’s chagrin, fellow Masons and Odd
Fellows conducted part of the funeral service. Rice called the lodge rites chukkas
hagoyim, or Christian customs and threatened to refuse to officiate at future burials where
such rites were observed. Accustomed to lay governance and tolerance of acculturation a
small group of men broke away from the congregation and formed the Har Sinai Verein.
In 1842 about six months after Arens’ death, the group conducted their first services on
the High Holidays using a Bible (Baltimore Hebrew Congregation refused to lend them a
Torah), held services in members’ homes, chose lecturers, and in December 1843
petitioned the state legislature for incorporation. Thus was born the first permanent
congregation begun as Reform in the United States. A small group holding the first
Jewish services on Sunday temporarily split away but quickly reunited.
The incidents leading to the separation from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation are
clear and historians have long argued that most of the early Reform congregations in
America were started as Reform societies on the German model by young German
immigrants. Indeed Isaac Leeser, a Rice ally born in Europe who spent formative years
in Richmond and then held pulpits in Philadelphia, derisively reported “about two years
ago [1842], some German immigrants commenced a miniature temple with an organ, etc,

Page 4
which some European papers have dignified with the appellation of the Baltimore
congregation, and represented them as having sent to Hamburgh [SIC] for temple prayer
books, etc.”
This article adds depth and nuance to previous accounts and illustrates how
such events in America can be understood best through German and transatlantic lens.
A fundamental question to be asked is why the Baltimore Reformers behaved as
they did. One of the congregation’s later rabbis and chroniclers, Abraham Shusterman,
fudges the causes for the split: “Who knows which of these ingredients – numerical
growth, dissatisfaction with Rabbi Rice, the strong Masonic loyalties of these German
immigrants, or religious liberalism – was the most important?”
The following explicates
the underlying significance of each of these.
Anti-Rabbanism as the Philosophy of Reform
Those who revolted against Rice’s authority, according to William S. Rayner,
early member, reader, and congregation historian, had “concluded that what threatened to
become a Jewish hierarchy in our midst should not be tolerated any longer. They were
determined to dispute Rabbi Rice’s authority.”
They and not rabbis would control their
personal actions. These reformers, like others of their era, termed their theoretical
principle anti-rabbanism. It is a concept that is explicated in the early statements of the
Reform society’s leaders and clearly informed their actions.
A logical explanation for the origins of this concept would be the American
experience. No ordained rabbi had served an American congregation before the arrival of
Rice. Lay leaders dominated congregational affairs in this vacuum during the colonial
and early national periods. All of the first rabbis to immigrate to the United States were
either fired or forced out of their first pulpits. This explanation would coincide with the

Page 5
Charleston model and follow Leon Jick’s argument for the Americanization of Judaism.
Yet it is to the Germanic states and not the United States that we seek origins.
Why? The leadership of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation had been in America
longer than the reformers. It also included individuals born in America as well as
countries besides the Germanic states although many hailed Bavaria as their birthplace.
With a few exceptions, the dissidents had come from Bavaria especially since1835.
Those who remained traditional and backed Rice were relatively more Americanized.
The dissenters brought their Reform and the philosophy to support it from Europe.
As Michael A. Meyer persuasively argues, the first wave of nineteenth century
immigrants from the southern Germanic states had not identified as Germans and rarely
recalled Germany with nostalgia. The second wave had begun modernization prior to
emigration and a major part of that process involved integration into German culture,
language, and education, absorbing the Enlightenment concept of Bildung, broadly
defined as educational uplift. According to Meyer, “German Jews in America continued
the modernization process begun in Germany within an imported German context,
thereby paradoxically slowing down their assimilation to modern America.”
Ismar Schorsch traces the origins of the “modern” rabbinate to the Germanic
states from the late eighteenth century to the early decades of the nineteenth century and
relates it directly to the Haskalah, emancipation, government edict, and the rise to
prominence of German universities. Mandatory university training and rabbinical
seminaries replaced traditional yeshivot as modern rabbis were called to preach regularly
and in German, supervise education, complete government reports, and assume pastoral
duties like visiting the sick and comforting the dying. They would now oversee kashruth

Page 6
rather than personally perform ritual slaughtering. Legal functions having been assumed
by the state, the rabbi became more the broker and community leader than the legal
arbiter. Judaism would be transformed “from executing a prescribed action to
experiencing a mood” through esthetic and orderly services and sermons designed to
“uplift, edify, and ennoble.”
Yet attacks aimed at the medieval rabbi continued with assaults on the powers of
the modern rabbi, what Schorsch describes as “violent anti-clericalism.” A new legacy
remained of “deep suspicion toward every assertion of rabbinic prerogative.” As Jews
gained political rights and elements of the general society pursued liberal republicanism,
Judaism became more democratic. Laymen sought control over their own behavior and
reform within the synagogue, the new center of Jewish life replacing the kehillah, or
Jewish community. Congregations left rabbinic posts unfilled for years, conducted
services themselves in German, and then used the terms prediger (preacher) or hakham,
(the Sephardic term for prayer leader), rather than rabbi when hiring. When Isaac
Bernays entered into a contract with the board of the Breslau synagogue, for example, he
was “forbidden to rebuke, deprive of charity, [or] punish any native or foreign Jew for
religious transgressions” – the type of behavior Rice attempted in Baltimore.
Founded in 1817, the Hamburg Temple provided leadership for much of the
change under its first predigers, Gotthold Salomon and Eduard Kley. According to a
congregation statute approved during the year the temple was established, the prediger
could only advise the board which wielded power even over religious issues. Appointed
in 1820, Salomon, who had earned a doctorate, defined the role of rabbi as teacher and
preacher. Direct overview of kashrut and the mikve or ritual bath was below his dignity

Page 7
and should be left to specialists under his supervision.
To him, the “Oral Torah [was] a
historical creation, a framework of customs, norms and ways of life which constantly
developed and changed in the light of changing needs.” The Bible is fundamental but
Talmudic edict is open to accommodation to new conditions.
For Reformers, the Talmud symbolized rules accrued over generations that now
bound individuals seemingly as much as the antisemitism and separation from general
society that had contributed to their development. Reformers argued that the rabbis of
the Talmud had responded to the needs of their era and that they too were free to adjust
what they considered external practices to the contemporary environment. This argument
freed the Reformers from many of the laws held dear by traditionalists.
To the founders
of Har Sinai, Reform meant self-determination, the freedom to reject or accept rituals on
an individual basis.
This is why continued reliance on ritual is not the key gauge to
their Reform; as they stated repeatedly, it was anti-rabbanism or lay control.
Probably the earliest Har Sinai document is the letter (see appendix) alluded to by
Leeser to Gotthold Salomon in which the society requested materials. The letter explains
the reasons for establishing the society and for Reform in terms being used
simultaneously in Germany. The “very deplorable” spiritual conditions of Jews in
Baltimore are compared to those in Europe; “Superstition is greater here than even
among the Orthodox rabbis of Europe whose fanaticism is limited by the authoritative
decisions of the government.” Then Rice is attacked directly and as a symbol of the
abuse of rabbinic authority. Like their Reform brethren in Germany, Jews in Baltimore
sought a religion of reason and spirituality – a mixture of Haskalah and emotion – that
reflected their status as free individuals in a democracy.

Page 8
Far from coincidentally, the temple did not hire a rabbi until 1855 but depended
instead on learned laymen to conduct services. When the congregation relied on learned
laymen as ritual leaders they were emulating the examples of the German reform
societies and following the philosophy set out in the letter. When Har Sinai hired
Einhorn, they knew they were employing a maverick advocate of radical Reform who
would advance the changes in ritual and esthetics within the congregation that they had
hesitated to promulgate. Why had they held back? Perhaps they did so because some of
the members wanted to remain traditional but through their choice rather than under the
dictates of an Abraham Rice. Every reform that Einhorn championed required and
received board approval. They had not awaited Einhorn to promulgate a Reform
philosophy. They had already transported theirs from Bavaria. By the time of his arrival,
the founders of Har Sinai had resided in Baltimore for almost a decade since the
congregation’s founding. They now awaited ritual reform within the synagogue. When
shortly after his arrival Einhorn protested the Cleveland Conference of 1855, the
congregation passed a resolution supporting his position. Both Einhorn and the board
protested largely based on the authority the conference granted to rabbis and the
Again in 1859 the rabbi and every member of the congregation signed a
protest rejecting the creation of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites on the
grounds that it was a hierarchical movement that could pose a danger to the liberties of
Jews and congregational autonomy.
Einhorn’s stands were in accord with the Reform
philosophy of Har Sinai’s founders.
Einhorn ultimately fled Baltimore with the outbreak of the Civil War after his
newspaper press was destroyed and his congregation expressed fear that his abolitionist

Page 9
stance placed his life in danger.
The congregation welcomed his return three weeks
later on the condition that he would refrain from speaking out. Einhorn demanded an
independent voice. In its demands, the congregation continued its legacy of lay control.
Ironically, as Reform rabbis rejected the Talmud written by their predecessors, they
provided the foundation for limitations on their own authority.
Although the last decades of the nineteenth century is viewed as a high point of
German rabbinical leadership in America leading to the promulgation of real Reform
through rabbinical conferences and other means,
the rabbis’ actions and thoughts had to
follow lay dictates and typically reflected lay demands. Reform in America as in
Germany thus was the religious parallel to secular political, social, and economic
Ironically, too, (hypocritically may be the more appropriate description), Einhorn
believed that only Radical Reform fit the new age. He attacked the legitimacy of other
people’s beliefs and practices often employing personal invective.
Individuals and
congregations had liberty to chose but to Einhorn and his congregation it was clear what
that choice should be.
The emphasis on anti-rabbanism separated Har Sinai’s raison d’etre from that of
most other American congregations. Reform congregation spokespeople from Charleston
to New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago argued that they were modernizing practices to
bring people back to the synagogue who were being lost to indifference to ceremonies
with which they could no longer associate and to a language, Hebrew, that they no longer
Indeed, reconstituting spirituality and meaning within a decorous
environment to maintain Judaism served as a core of Reform. In Baltimore, individual

Page 10
choice held sway. Yet again Charleston’s Reform Society of Israelites illustrates
parallels with Baltimore. Isaac Harby, its major intellectual leader, rejected rabbinical
Judaism and authority in favor of individual and group determinations of relevant
observance and beliefs for the times. In 1841 Isaac Leeser advocated the union of
American Jewish congregations through a convention, Abraham Moїse, a former Reform
Society president now serving as a KKBE trustee, rejected the call as an infringement on
individual and congregation autonomy and contrary to the American concept of liberty.
Moise’s statement mirrored that of Har Sinai when it later rejected the Cleveland
Conference as well as contemporary statements made by culture verein in Germany. In
tracing the origins of Reform in the United States, KKBE Rabbi Maurice Mayer
maintained that his congregation “argued against the eternal irrefutability of rabbanism
and talmudism… [SIC}” Mayer praised Har Sinai’s protest against the Cleveland
platform; “Even if this congregation … had not done anything else for Reform besides
publishing this protest, it nevertheless deserves the fame from now on to be considered as
leader in the field of progress in our holy religion.”
The Hamburg Model: Of Prayer Books and Sermons
As previously noted, the Hamburg Temple served as the model for most of the
first Reform congregations in America. In fact, even the most Americanized,
Charleston’s K.K. Beth Elohim, was influenced by its example. The Reverend Gustavus
Poznanski had lived in Hamburg and Bremen. When a fire destroyed the sanctuary, the
congregation decided to re-build with an organ, a typical symbol of reform and one
instituted in Hamburg. Poznanski defended the decision as keeping within tradition,
while others unsuccessfully brought the congregation to court over the matter and

Page 11
ultimately separated.
Some of the English hymns published by the congregation in
1842 were adopted by the Hamburg hymnal and parts of the Yom Kippur service were
borrowed as well. A translation of Gotthold Salomon’s was reprinted in Charleston in
Outside of Charleston (although even that congregation called itself a Reform
society), the other Reform congregations beginning with Har Sinai started as cultur
verein, or religious societies, like many of those in Germany.
These societies
conducted services and quickly became temples. The society mantra reflected the
founders’ concept that they wanted to debate possible changes and experiment as well as
the opening of German society to Jews through voluntary associations.
In one of its first actions the leaders of Baltimore’s Har Sinai Verein requested
prayer books and sermons from the Hamburg Temple. In 1839 the director of the
Hamburg congregation had created a committee to revise the original prayer book of
1818. Compiled by the two readers, Salomon and Kley and three laymen, the prayer
book was designed for compromise and to avoid the taint of radicalism so that the
Temple would not isolate itself from other congregations. Yet a storm ensued between
opponents and supporters. The prayer book upheld Reform principles already in vogue in
Charleston and illustrated parallels in modernization and acculturation across the
Atlantic. It rejected the concept of a personal messiah and return to Israel, implying
instead that the Diaspora was actually part of God’s plan to disperse the Jews and, with
them, their mission to foster universal brotherhood and peace. The Promised Land was
now the land of residence where Jews would reside as loyal, contributing citizens.

Page 12
After lashing out at the power of rabbis in the first address given to the Reform
Society of Israelites, Isaac Harby called America “This happy land.” Equally well known
are Gustavus Poznanski’s 1841 dedication remarks for KKBE’s new sanctuary, “This
synagogue is our temple, this city our Jerusalem, this happy land our Palestine.”
Sutro delivered the same message in a sermon on the Ninth of Ab (August 3, 1845), a day
commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the resultant dispersal of
Jews into the Diaspora. Sutro molded his message as a question posed for the
congregation’s consideration since “We have made it our task to examine each religious
act as to its purpose before we commit it.” Mirroring the message of the Hamburg prayer
book and readers, Sutro questioned why the occasion should be observed as a day of
mourning. He responded that Judaism had continued to live and quoted a poet, “Where
duty and right are being practiced, where man loves his fellow-man, there it is pleasant,
there Jerusalem flourishes.” He continued, “”Should our Christian fellow-citizen with
whom we are forming one and the same social community not be of the opinion, when
we are mourning the destruction of Jerusalem, that we are longing to return there and that
our patriotism for our present homeland cannot be a true, genuine and fervent one?”
These arguments resonated direct to recent immigrants. In the oath to become American
citizens they swore to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure forever all allegiance
and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State, and Sovereignty whatever…”
Rice had arrived in Baltimore in 1840 just as the prayer book controversy was at
its height. The following year Jews in Berlin organized a cultur verein, and reformers in
Frankfurt lost patience with the slow cadence of reform advocated by the rabbis and
started The Society of the Dawn, a short-lived but more radical Reform organization.

Page 13
Transformed into The Society of the Friends of Reform in 1842, this group rejected the
concept of a priestly caste and any distinction between rabbi and flock. Many leaders
viewed even Reform rabbis with contempt. The society’ declaration of principle,
published with a defense in 1843, met with the opprobrium of both the traditional and
reform rabbinate. It recognized the need to reject the Talmud in order to liberate the
burdensome authority of rabbis.
The members of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation had
to be aware of these and other events in Germany. Besides letters from home, a constant
influx of immigrants arrived from Bavaria and one of the most ardent defenders of
tradition in America, Isaac Leeser, published accounts in his Occident and American
Why did the Har Sinai leaders request sermons besides the prayer books and
again why from Hamburg?
It had not been unusual for rabbis to give derashah as part
of the service. These were learned discourses on a legal problem or bible portion
involving interpretations from the Talmud and other rabbis. By the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries, in some cases derashah served more to showcase the erudition
and brilliance of the rabbi rather than as a tool for education of the congregants. The
sermon (the first modern one given in Germany in 1808), changed the form, structure,
and purpose of the derashah and took as its model the Christian sermon designed for
edification. The early Jewish preachers “were virtuosos of religion, not accredited
rabbis.” These included Salomon and Kley and, in fact, Salomon gained his fame as a
preacher of sentimental sermons borrowing his style from Christian ministers and other
rabbis. During the 1830s the Jewish preachers created a new model imbued with Jewish
spirit and freed from German style using Jewish sources, history, and analysis that the

Page 14
congregants could understand while having their emotions aroused. Indeed one of the key
turning points toward Reform occurred during the late 1830s with the call by congregants
for a second rabbi to preach in the vernacular. The German language sermon represented
the beginning of a new public sphere and one of the “new institutional forms of
expression.” The cultur vereins used these religious addresses as “the medium which
could reach the new bourgeoisie.”
The sermons of Salomon, Kley, and Frankfurter,
their associate, were so popular that Isaac Leeser felt it necessary to attack them in his
in Hamburg, they [‘the vulgar, the genteel not less than the uneducated’] may
resort to the temple as more outwardly attractive than the Synagogue, for there are
elegant speakers, who, if they teach little, use the most beautiful, language in
giving utterance to the few ideas they inculcate, whilst the sound of pleasant
music [the organ and choir] acts as a delightful accompaniment to the easy
worship which is demanded of the attendants.
Alan Silverstein maintains that clergy had to market what had become a
voluntaristic religion through sermons and public lectures. In 1829 Leeser delivered the
first regular sermons in the United States at Philadelphia’s Keneseth Israel at the behest
of Rebecca Gratz and other female congregants. Poznanski next began giving sermons.
In Albany in 1846 Isaac Mayer Wise offered the first weekly preaching alternating
between German and English four years hence. Even Rice delivered sermons in German.
As in Germany, both reformists and traditionalists preached.
Thus the messages and
not the media delineated the distinctions.

Page 15
The sermons that Har Sinai would have obtained from the Hamberg Temple by
Kley and Salomon stressed family, decorum, allegiance to the host country, rejection of a
personal messiah and return to Israel, and personal uplift, concepts dear to the reformers.
The Issue of the Masonic Rite
The spark for the break with Baltimore Hebrew and Rabbi Abraham Rice’s
leadership seemingly should have been inconsequential. Why was Rice’s reaction to the
Masonic rite at Arens’ funeral so harsh and why was his reaction to this more important
to the secessionists than his previous calls for traditional observance? After all, Jews had
long been associated with and welcomed into the Masonic Order in America. Jacob
Katz’ Jews and Freemasons in Europe, 1723-1939 suggests possible answers.
Katz sees acculturation, antisemitism, emancipation, and Reform as interlocking
phenomenon. Particularly in the Germanic states, Jews had to fight for acceptance into
the Masonic Order and admission symbolized rights and democratic principles. The
struggle was part of the larger battle for political rights and social access. The Masons
represented those voluntary institutions emerging in Germany that facilitated
interpersonal relations and individuals among the emerging bourgeoisie and transcended
This was a new public sphere to which enlightened Jews aspired. Those
wanting admittance and who were first accepted were modernizing Jews with secular
educations, rising into the middle and upper classes, and leaving behind Jewish tradition.
Reform in Judaism did not have a causal relationship with Jewish desires to become
Masons but the two were correlated. Reform Jewish emphasis on universal religious
values coincided with the core Masonic mission of the unity of mankind. Thus entrance

Page 16
into the Masons reinforced Reform Jewish values besides illustrating how far Jews could
rise as long as they acculturated. German Christians viewed traditional Jews as alien and
unacceptable and thus only those leaving tradition behind could aspire to equal status.
The Philanthropin school, designed to provide vocational training for Jewish orphans so
that they could enter occupations deemed by Germans to be productive and therefore
conducive to Jewish citizenship, began Reform services in 1811. Its founders were
closely associated with a Masonic lodge.
The haskalah, social acceptance, even as limited and begrudgingly given in
Germany, and the expanding role of government control over formerly Jewish civil and
judicial powers like marriage and education broke down the traditional Jewish
community structure and threatened community cohesion.
Traditional Jews did not seek inclusion in gentile society. They also viewed the
Christological imagery in Masonry as anathema. To them, entrance into the Masons
symbolized the radicalism of Reform.
By opposing the Masonic funeral ceremony,
Rice rejected not only Masonry but also acculturation and Reform.
Those who split from Baltimore Hebrew likely viewed his attack as a frontal
assault on the very rights being fought for in the Germanic states against antisemitism.
That they immediately sought aid from the Hamburg Temple was, again, no coincidence.
The first minister of that congregation, Gotthold Salomon, was a Mason who openly
advocated inclusion as a visitor and member of the German lodges.
The founders of
Har Sinai craved freedom, democracy, and inclusion. Their fight against gentile
opposition to entrance into the Masons informed their fight against rabbinic authority.
Jews were already accepted in Masonic ranks in England, France, Holland, and the

Page 17
United States. In terms of freedom and inclusion in society, the Baltimore reformers, like
Rice, were motivated more by conditions in their homeland than in their adopted country.
Charleston Reformers have also been identified as Masons and their first services
were conducted in a Masonic hall. Moreover the B’nai B’rith, begun in New York in
1843 as events unfolded in Baltimore, was modeled on the Masonic Order.
The Jewish
fraternity served as a social outlet besides providing insurance services but, more
importantly for this study, it offered an alternative to synagogue attendance for American
Jews and the typical demographic make-up of its members largely matches that of the
founders of Har Sinai.
Rice’s attack on the Masonic rites and the reformers’ dramatic reaction can only
be understood within this Euro-American contextual framework.
The Membership and Leadership of Har Sinai
Like the German culture verein, Har Sinai used learned laymen as functionaries.
The first readers were Joseph Simpson (1791-1856) and Abraham T. Wachtman
(Wachman or Washman) (1811- ). Simpson had been a member of Baltimore Hebrew
Congregation as early as 1832, the first year his name appeared in the city directory. Both
men had been charter members of the Irische Chevra or Baltimore’s United Hebrew
Benevolent Society (1834), organized to provide aid to members and their families in
time of need. Offering a social outlet, this self-help and burial society included most of
the leaders of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation including Jacob Arens (Aaron) and Simon
Eytinge, later a charter member of Har Sinai.
Besides serving as readers, Wachtman
worked as a watchmaker and Simpson as a lapidary and steel engraver.

Page 18
Wachtman was born in Oldenberg while his wife Joanna (1824- ) was born in
Hanover. They had four children born in Maryland and one in Cincinnati where they had
settled by 1860. Although most remained in Baltimore, seven men who were either
charter members of Har Sinai or likely their relatives appear in Cincinnati records where
they may have also influenced Reform and the growth of Jewish institutions.
Simpson’s is an unusual story among the Har Sinai founders but one that
contributes important insights to the whole. The only member born in Vilna, Russian
Poland, he was tutored in Hebrew by the town rabbi at an early age and attended rabbinic
school. Denied the right to enter the legal profession, the Jewish community encouraged
his study of halachah, or Jewish law. Following the dictate of not earning a livelihood
from Torah, he became an artist engraving in gold, silver, and stone but Russian as well
as German law limited Jewish participation in trades. He traveled from place to place
serving as a lapidary and tutoring youth. After living in Hungary and a stay in England he
went to Getingham in Hanover (Germany) in 1819 for professional reasons finally
arriving in America in 1831. He then came to the United States for religious and
economic freedom and opportunity.
A funeral remembrance for Simpson described him as “a descendent of a family
distinguished for its Talmudic knowledge. He himself had donated the prime of his life
to the study of the Talmud, and other disciplines of Jewish theology.” Seemingly this is
hardly the type of individual one would expect to serve as reader of this fledgling society.
Yet the speaker provided the explanation and, by doing so, supports the conclusion that
individual choice was a co-equal force with anti-rabbanism; “he was also very
distinguished by his very liberality in matters of religion for although he was a strict

Page 19
observer of every particle of our religion, nevertheless he granted every body [SIC] the
fullest liberty in regard of religious views.” Further, Simpson shunned the hypocrisy of
people who claimed Orthodoxy but who failed to observe ritual. Called “the Vindicator
of Israel,” he wrote a pamphlet attacking Christian missionaries to the Jews. Thus
Simpson shared Rice’s erudition, ritual, and pride in Jewish distinctiveness without,
however, imposing it on others.
Reader Simpson was eulogized as an “honest and virtuous man” who, although he
had “made a heap of money,” died without substantial assets because of his philanthropy.
For example, he had joined and supported a youth organization “for the cultivation of
their mind and religious feeling.” Simpson, like the other members, had brought his
cosmopolitan travel experiences, skills, and background to Baltimore where he
prospered. He was an individualist who flourished with freedom and sought that liberty
within Judaism.
Max Sutro (1817- ) served as Har Sinai’s first lecturer until he was succeeded by
Moritz (Morris) Brown (Braun) (1813- ) in 1849.
Although the readers conducted the
services using the Hamburg prayer book, much as in Germany Sutro and Brown
delivered their own sermons besides those from Hamburg.
Born in Bavaria and arriving in America in 1841, Max Sutro may have been
related to Rabbi Abraham Sutro (1784-1869). Abraham Sutro studied under Wolf
Hamburg and was granted ordination from Rabbi Menahem Mendel Steinhardt. He
taught at a consistory school in Beverungen before receiving an appointment as district
rabbi of Munster and Mark, Westphalia, in 1815. The senior Sutro, a traditionalist,
delivered some of the earliest German-language sermons. He defended traditionalism

Page 20
against Reform but also demonstrated a certain amount of flexibility to the new age. He
attempted to improve the schools and supported vocational education, a hallmark of
German Jewish Bildung. Isaac Leeser, one of his students, corresponded with him for
decades after arriving in America.
Another of Abraham Sutro’s students in Westphalia
was James K. Guttheim, who became a leader of moderate Reform in New Orleans.
That both Guttheim and Leeser viewed Abraham Sutro as a mentor, much as was the case
with Wolf Hamburg and his students including Rice and Einhorn, reflects the malleability
of Jewish education and the options open to individuals of the era. A traditional
upbringing could lead one on the path to either Reform or the maintenance of tradition.
Max Sutro served as a key leader beyond his position as lecturer. Acting in behalf
of the congregation, he requested Gustavus Poznanski’s opinion concerning the abolition
of the second day of holidays, a reform reflecting the rejection of the concept of
Diaspora. Poznanski supported the change. As discussed below, Poznanski’s role as
authority for American Reform Judaism and congregations has not been sufficiently
recognized. W. Renau, the first president of the Cultus Verein (later Emanu-El), solicited
information from Poznanski “on the improvements and new directives in your temple” to
lay the foundation for reforms in New York.
Moritz Brown had served as the congregation teacher under Sutro, conducting a
day school for the study of Hebrew and German.
At the consecration of a new temple
edifice in 1849, he served as preacher while William S. Rayner (1818 or 1822- ) acted in
the capacity of reader. Rayner opened with a prayer in German followed by a hymn in
German song by the choir accompanied by an organist. The Torah reading, passages
from Psalms, and a blessing by Rayner were in Hebrew. Brown delivered a sermon in

Page 21
German and the service was concluded with a psalm song in English by the choir. Thus
the service reflected multiple identities - American, Germany, and Jewish, on one hand,
and Reform and traditional on the other.
Brown, born in Bavaria, and his wife Adelaide (b. 1821, Bavaria) had three
children in Baltimore where he ran a dry goods store. Rayner, who immigrated to
Baltimore from Hamburg in 1840 on the same ship as Rice, was a prosperous merchant
from Oberelsbach, Bavaria and his wife Amalie (or Emily) Jacobson Rayner (b. 1822)
hailed from Hamburg. His property was valued at $7000 in 1850. After the Civil War he
became a financier, and bank and railroad director, and is ultimately listed with real estate
valued at $400,000 and as a capitalist with personal property of $100,000 with two
addresses. Rayner helped Einhorn translate the first German prayer book used in
Baltimore. One historian of Maryland Jewry claims that “it was mainly through his
influence that David Einhorn became rabbi” of Har Sinai. Subsequently a long term
congregation president, Rayner favored a Sunday service. He founded the Baltimore
Hebrew Orphan Asylum donating its first building besides serving as vice president of
the Baltimore Poor Association and manager for the Home for Incurables.
As has been shown, Brown and Rayner, like all of the religious functionaries of
Har Sinai before Einhorn, followed the tradition of not making a living from the study of
the Torah but rather supporting themselves and their families from other economic
pursuits. They were also neither dependent on their positions within the synagogue nor
were they in a superior religious role in relation to the other congregants. They gained
respect in the community as businesspeople, family men, and religiously knowledgeable

Page 22
Moritz Bettmann or Bettman served as Har Sinai’s first secretary. In this capacity
he wrote the letter to Gotthold Salomon informing him of the conditions facing Jews in
Baltimore, requesting prayer books and sermons, and noting the society’s decision to
follow the Hamburg model.
Samuel Wolf Dellevie (also Dellevire) (1807-1893) was a tobacconist, or dealer
in cigars, for several years in partnership with a man named Brand. Born in Hamburg,
Dellevie arrived in Baltimore from Hanover in1834 and married Pretty Naumbaurg six
years later. First treasurer and future congregation president, Dellevie was a key
individual for the adoption of the Hamburg model since he provided information to the
members of Har Sinai concerning the Hamburg prayer book. Samuel Dellevie, Lawrence
Lowman, and William Moser led the building committee for the 1849 sanctuary.
Moses Hutzler (1800-1889) arrived in the United States from Hagenbach, Bavaria
in 1838 with his second wife, Caroline Neuberger Hutzler (b. 1804), and five children
(two more were born in Baltimore). He had cousins in Richmond but he decided to settle
in Baltimore where the ship debarked. Using skill learned in German, he became a
ladies’ tailor. When this failed he moved to Frederick and became a peddler. By 1840 he
was back in Baltimore where he established a small store that, in time, expanded into a
department store. After first meeting at Sarasota Street near Gay, Har Sinai conducted
services in the Hutzler’s home. The household remained highly observant for at least a
decade after the founding of the congregation, and a son and grandson served as
presidents of Associated Jewish Charities during the twentieth century. He was honored
as a member of the Amicable Lodge #25 A.F. & A. Masons.

Page 23
Bavarian Isaac Hamburger (1826 -), who became a member shortly after Har
Sinai was founded, started as a tailor then opened a clothing store in 1850 that became
Isaac Hamburger and Sons department store. The store later branched out to include a
Washington location. In later years he and his wife Rebecca (b. 1831, Bavaria) had six
children born in Maryland, a nurse, a servant, and his mother living with them. Attesting
to the fluidity of associations and labels, he became the first reader of Oheb Shalom when
it opened in 1853. This moderate Reform congregation was largely composed of
individuals involved in the clothing industry who found membership in the other
congregations problematic because they frequently traveled for business. That he became
the reader attests to his knowledge of Hebrew and the services.
Simon Frankenstein, the least identifiable of the founders, was a butcher.
Bernard Greensfelder (1812-1868), the congregation’s first president, ran a
succession of businesses. With his brother Sigmund B. Greensfelder as president,
Greensfelder Brothers and Laupheimer Wholesale Druggists were “dealers in patent
medicines, paints, oils and perfumery,” according to an 1842 advertisement. That year he
was sufficiently prosperous to purchase a warehouse at auction for $2515. Later under
the name Greensfelder and Heilbrun Variety Store and then Bernard Greensfelder and
Son, he sold dry goods. By the 1850s he and his wife Hellen, both born in Bavaria,
employed live-in servants from Germany as did other congregants. In 1865 he posted a
$50 bond as treasurer of the Cliosophic Hebrew Literary and Dramatic Association.
Joseph Lavie possible appears as both Levi and Levy, a second hand dealer who
becomes confectioner and clothing store owner and then a dry goods and jewelry dealer

Page 24
or Joseph M. Levy, who is listed without an occupation on Pratt Street. Samuel Dellevie,
Ignatz Lauer, and Simon Rosenthal also had businesses on Pratt.
Congregation president during the dedication ceremony in 1849, Lewis Lauer
(1817- ) conducted a trimming and variety store business in 1842. He was born in Hesse-
Darmstadt as was his wife Sarah (1822- ). Their home later included eight children born
in Maryland, his brother Alexander, and four servants. He rose financially and ran an
import and wholesale business by the time of his presidency.
Bavarian-born, Isaac (1820? - ) and Lawrence (1818- ) Lowman ran two Lowman
and Bro. dry goods stores and ranked as merchants. In later years Lawrence owned a
“ladies & gents furnishing business.”
William W. Moser (b. 1813, Austria) and Simon Rosenthal (b. 1826, Hanover)
were partners in a wholesale and retail dry goods store and, by 1845, a lace dealership.
Moser had arrived in Baltimore in 1841 with his occupation noted as weaver. Unlike
most members, he married a woman born in Maryland, Sarah. By 1849 Rosenthal, a Har
Sinai vice president, ran the Annapolis House bar, restaurant, and pool hall in Annapolis
that catered to Naval Academy cadets who sang a song extolling their experiences with
the man they called Rosey-Gosey.
Samuel N. Pike (1822-1872), listed in the 1842 Baltimore City Directory as a dry
goods merchant, was unique among Har Sinai’s charter members. He was born in New
York, educated in Connecticut, had a grocery/dry goods business in Florida, and
successfully speculated in cotton before moving to Richmond where he ran an import
wine and liquor store. In Baltimore he sold wholesale dry goods but remained in the city
for only two years before moving to St Louis and then to Cincinnati where he ran dry

Page 25
goods, grocery, and then liquor distillery businesses ultimately opening the city’s first
opera house. This wanderer finally ended up in New York.
Samuel Wolf (1816 - ), the first treasurer, ran a fancy store and became a dry
goods merchant. He was born in Hamburg and his wife Matilda (1818 or 1823- ) was
also born in Germany. They had three children in Baltimore before moving to Cincinnati
during the 1850s where he became a cigar maker.
German-born, William S. Wolf (1818- ), the first vice president, was a self
employed brass founder and tinner who, at one stage, lived with William S. Rayner.
A few of these individuals participated in partisan politics. Although never
aspiring to office, Joseph Simpson worked for the Democratic Party on the ward and
district level. In 1856 Democrats “tender[ed] him the last honnors [SIC] by tending his
funeral as a political body.” Moses Hutzler, on the other hand, became a Republican
because of his abolitionist sentiments. With similar sympathies, William Rayner served
as vice president of the Union Relief Association.
Finally Simon Eytinge (1788-1869) ran clothing, furniture, and variety stores as
well as a pawnbroker establishment.
He was the only charter member of Har Sinai from
Holland (where his wife Ann was also born) and the only one to arrive in Baltimore by
1830. A jeweler in Philadelphia prior to his arrival in Baltimore, he had an extended
family in the former city. His brothers Barnett and Philip sold fancy goods to the
wholesale trade and Solomon was a merchant. Solomon had first arrived in Baltimore in
1816 and Barnett four years hence. Thus the brothers probably paved the way for
From 1834 to 1836 Simon served as the second president of Baltimore Hebrew
Congregation. The only official to break from the parent congregation, Eytinge may have

Page 26
been close friends with Jacob Arens, a fellow Dutchman and early settler. All others with
similar backgrounds remained at Baltimore Hebrew. In 1844 Eytinge became a charter
member of the Hebrew Love and Friendship Benevolent Society of Baltimore along with
members of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
One of Simon Eytinge’s daughters, Elizabeth, married Abraham Nachman.
Abraham Nachman became a critical supporter of David Einhorn and the main signer for
Har Sinai for the protest against I.M. Wise and the Cleveland conference. The marriage
related the family to John Dyer, and his wife, Babette, both of whom were Nachmans
(they were cousins; Dyer had changed his name when he arrived in America). The Dyer
family arrived in Baltimore in 1812, earlier than the members of Har Sinai. According to
local historians, the Dyers’ Baltimore butcher shop became the first packing house in the
United States. The major organizer and first president of Baltimore Hebrew, John and his
children were so integrally involved and comfortable with the parent congregation that
they did not join Har Sinai. Son, Leon, for example, facilitated the purchase of the Lloyd
Street synagogue and served seven years as president including during the Har Sinai
schism. He quelled bread riots as acting mayor of Baltimore, won appointment as
quartermaster-general of Louisiana while conducting business in New Orleans, fought for
Texas independence, joined Winfield Scott’s staff during the Seminole War, and served
as quartermaster-general during the Mexican War. Ironically Leon Dyer planted Reform
in California when he settled in San Francisco and helped found the first congregation on
the west coast. The congregation rabbi, Julius Eckman, previously served at Beth
Shalome in Richmond and KKBE in Charleston.
Another son, Isidore, fostered Reform
in Galveston, Texas where he started a congregation that initially met in his home. When

Page 27
daughter Rosanna Dyer Osterman drowned in a Mississippi River boat accident in 1866,
she became the first major female Jewish philanthropist in America bequeathing money
to Reform congregations in Galveston and Houston besides numerous other causes.
Much can be learned from the Eytinge-Dyer relationship and the actions of the
Dyer family. The latter likely reflected their personal beliefs and again illustrate the
ambiguity of the era and place.
One could be loyal to one’s congregation while still
sympathetic to Reform. In Baltimore a tradition developed of repeated congregation
schisms that seemingly had little impact or relation to interpersonal relations between the
memberships. Religious observance and affiliation during much of the nineteenth
century was apparently a separate sphere that could nurture but not disrupt the complex
web of social, familial, and business ties. The rabbis fought among themselves but the
congregants came from similar backgrounds and rose equally in socio-economic, cultural,
business, and civic terms. In fact Sigmund Greensfelder, Samuel’s brother, and Michael
Heilbrun, Samuel’s partner, remained with Baltimore Hebrew as did M. Nachman,
Abraham’s relative.
In summary, of the early members and leaders of Har Sinai one each came from
Austria, Holland, New York, and Russian Poland, and all of the rest from the Germanic
states. Of the latter several had ties directly with Hamburg and most were from
The congregants boasted a variety of occupations virtually all of which fall
under the two categories of skilled crafts and store ownership. None were peddlers or
clerks at the time of the congregation’s incorporation. Almost all demonstrated upward
mobility in succeeding decades. Thus while few could be defined as wealthy in 1842,
these people were not poor. They were independent and had reasonable expectations of

Page 28
rising. They, like their counterparts in the Reform Society of Israelites, can be classified
as youthful, expectant capitalists. With the exceptions of Eytinge (1788), Simpson
(1791), and Hutzler (1800), all charter members were born between 1807 and 1826 with
eleven ages 16 to 29 and three ages 30 to 35 in 1842. Their economic status reflected
their age. In contrast to the Charleston reformers, it also reflected relatively recent
arrival. Pike was born in America, Eytinge arrived before 1830, Simpson in 1831, and the
others within the decade of the congregation’s founding. From their ages and the few
known dates of arrival, it can be deduced that most came within five years of that date.
Pike was the most geographically mobile and four others may have eventually gone to
Cincinnati but at least two thirds remained tied to Baltimore. This contrast with the
geographic mobility of Charleston Reformers reflects the decline of the Charleston
economy after 1830 and the continued prosperity of Baltimore.
For Oheb Shalom, another Baltimore congregation that resulted from a schism a
decade later, Marsha Rozenblit concluded that membership differed slightly in response
the needs of different occupations, but that individual preference and not a socio-
economic explanation largely accounted for choice.
Generally the men who started Har
Sinai illustrated negligible differences from the rank and file of Baltimore Hebrew.
Although by 1842 the original members and leaders of Baltimore Hebrew were more
acculturated and established financially than those of Har Sinai, the typical member of
Baltimore Hebrew remained a relatively recent immigrant from Germany just beginning
the road to success. Rice had only arrived in 1840 from Hamburg and German remained
the main language in the parent congregation well into the 1850s.
Conversely a few of
Har Sinai’s leaders including key religious functionaries exhibited close and early ties to

Page 29
Baltimore Hebrew and ancillary organizations. Although a difference in arrival date from
Europe between the charter members of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Har Sinai is
evident, new arrivals also continued to join Baltimore Hebrew. Thus the findings of this
essay support Rozenblit’s conclusions. Rice’s actions were just more rancorous to some
members of Baltimore Hebrew than others, and they made the choice to leave that freed
them to plot a more dramatic course.
The Issue of Reform
Several historians have stressed the traditional nature of many early Har Sinai
practices, so much so that the degree of Reform is highly questioned before the
appointment of David Einhorn as rabbi. Although an organ was used, men continued to
cover their heads during services, services were conducted largely in Hebrew, women sat
apart and maintained dietary laws in their homes, and the traditional two days of festivals
were observed. Most kept the Sabbath, many doing so strictly. Charles Rubenstein, a
later congregation rabbi and historian, writes, for example, “The form of Judaism
followed by the Har Sinai Verein would be today considered Orthodox or very
Indeed in 1854 when services were conducted by Dr. Morris Weiner
for several members on Sunday following the example of Hungarian Reform
congregations, the board of trustees voted to lock the temple barring them from entrance.
With Weiner as lecturer and leader, this group met as a separate congregation for six
months before realizing that their split jeopardized the very existence of the mother
congregation and they rejoined.
The stress on tradition lends weight to the
interpretation that true Reform did not take place until after the Civil War when
congregations built new edifices and altered practices, and finally with the creation of a

Page 30
national Reform institutional framework and philosophy through a series of conferences
in ensuing decades.
Indeed, specific reforms become a veritable litmus test for Reform. The use of an
organ, removal of head coverings for men, mixed seating, and the abolition of the second
day of holidays head the list. This issue came to a head a decade ago with an article by
Marc Lee Raphael and rejoinder by Leon Jick.
Raphael largely dismisses the significance of specific alterations of ritual as a
clear denotation of Reform but instead argues, “Perhaps the single best measure of
‘commitment to Reform Judaism’ before the mid-1890s is an explicit use of the term
Reform…” Jick blurred the differences between him and Raphael by suggesting that
Raphael’s Washington Hebrew Congregation example was simply a variation in the
ambiguous pattern that Jick had already outlined in The Americanization of the
Synagogue. To Jick “to attach labels or to define the precise moment at which a
congregation is transformed from ‘orthodox’ to reform’” is “not essential” and in fact
leads one to “overlook the complex process of change…” And yet Jick partly contradicts
himself when he writes, “once congregations arrogated to themselves the right to decide
what should or should not be observed, the floodgates of change were opened.”
Har Sinai meets both of these criteria. It both defined itself as Reform and opened
the floodgates to change. It also went one step further by basing the name and the
changes on a well defined philosophy. That was the real Reform. Creating seeming
ambiguity, Orthodox and Conservative congregations and their precursors could institute
sermons, decorum, mixed seating, or other changes and Reform temples of the last half
century could return to tradition. Yet their underlying philosophical differences, first

Page 31
articulated by the leaders of Charleston’s Reform Society of Israelites and Baltimore’s
Har Sinai Verein, is what separates the three movements.
Even given the traditional nature of many of their practices, Shusterman observes,
“in their hearts they were reformers, liberals, experimentalists, innovators.”
This article
maintains that Har Sinai was begun by Reformers not only in their hearts but also in their
minds and in their consistent theological theory.
Transference: Migration of People, Ideas, and Institutions
Just as ideas filtered from Germany to America, they moved within the United
States. This continuous internal migration created and regenerated communities and
served as a conduit for Reform.
Most of the earliest Jewish migrants to stay for a substantial amount of time in
Baltimore had previously lived in Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and
Richmond, Virginia. Although some had participated in congregations in those locations
and indeed remained members, few of these were among the charter members of
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. From 1820 to 1830 Philadelphia was the main city of
previous residence. Often members of that city’s Mikveh Israel or Rodeph Shalom,
several of these individuals helped found the first Baltimore congregation.
At least three models for the introduction of Reform are evident. The initial
Charleston experience exemplifies indigenous Reform as part of the Americanization
process. Reforms as KKBE under Poznanski and at Har Sinai illustrate how Reform
could be imported from Germany as part of the immigrants’ cultural baggage. That both
indigenous and imported Reform reflected acculturation argues for the transatlantic
nature of the forces of modernization. Reform in Charleston and Baltimore moved across

Page 32
the country with congregations begun as Reform by migrants from the parent
congregations or those familiar with events in those cities thereby demonstrating the third
model. Clearly Jews in the south provided critical national leadership.
In this regard Poznanski deserves credit as the first major Reform minister in
Although members of the Reform Society of Israelites steal his thunder
because he seemingly follows their lead, it was Poznanski who instituted the reforms at
KKBE. The following decade Maurice Mayer concluded, “if we at all can talk about a
fatherhood of reform in America, Mr. Poznanski from here in Charleston has to be
accredited with it, even insofar as it concerns the ‘German congregations,’ and he
deserves a much higher recognition, sine he reformed a Portuguese congregation…”
Mayer argued this not only because of Poznanski’s activities in Charleston but also
because his role extended to Reform congregations including Har Sinai and New York’s
Emanu-El through example and counsel. Poznanski also influenced Isaac Mayer Wise
and Reform in Albany, New York. In 1850 Wise visited KKBE to apply for the position
vacated by Poznanski. He accepted the position only to reject it on his return to Albany.
Wise returned to Charleston to hear a debate between Morris Raphall and
Poznanski championed Reform against the traditionalist position of the
New York rabbi. Since Raphall is considered the premier orator in the contemporary
American rabbinate of the era, it is obvious that Poznanski was viewed as an able, if not
the most important foil. During the debate Raphall asked Poznanski if he believed in a
personal messiah and resurrection from the death. This was an important issue separating
Reform and traditional camps. Apparently from the audience Wise responded to the
question in the negative. Enemies within his Albany congregation used his apparent

Page 33
heresy against him, and, after a violent confrontation, he left the Albany congregation in
1850. A new Reform congregation, Anshe Emeth, was created by Wise’s supporters
where he instituted the Reforms of KKBE although without the introduction of the three
year cycle for Torah reading and the abolition of the second day of holidays and the last
Feast of Weeks. Wise had still not traveled as far along the Reform road as Poznanski.
This he would do only when he accepted a pulpit in Cincinnati where he ultimately
becomes the institution builder of the Reform movement.
Wise’s story is well known. It is recounted here to apply an additional meaning.
With hindsight Wise, David Einhorn, and Einhorn’s sons-in-law and disciples, Emil G.
Hirsch and Kaufmann Kohler led nineteenth century Reform. Yet for the first decade and
more Poznanski was clearly the primary leader.
Both KKBE and Har Sinai continued to serve as incubators for Reform. With the
graduate decline of Charleston after 1830, many Jews relocated to Columbia, South
Carolina where they started a congregation. Others went to New Orleans, Mobile,
Galveston bringing Reform with them.
When Jews in Philadelphia moved in the
direction of Reform, they turned to Baltimore for guidance.
Einhorn intervened to
encourage Samuel Hirsch to serve Philadelphia’s Keneseth Israel as rabbi and preacher,
and with Samuel Adler to accept the pulpit at New York’s Emanu-El.
Leonard Rogoff has argued that Har Sinai served as the center for the periphery Reform
congregations in North Carolina, an argument extended by Amy Hill Shevitz for
Wheeling, West Virginia.
As previously noted Leon and Isidore Dyer gave Reform
roots in San Francisco and Galveston, two cities whose Jewish communities and rabbis
formed state and regional centers of Reform.

Page 34
The Atlantic served more as a bridge than a boundary between rabbis and laymen
plying its waters. With them came ideas and institutions. The ideas and institutions
spread through American and adjusted to specifically local and American conditions
through the migration of laypeople and rabbis, intertwined links of family and business,
and newspaper and letter writing.
These and other insights shed light on southern history writ large as well as raise
additional questions. Obviously the south has never been an area composed solely of
white and black Christians. The movement of Jews into, and across the south are integral
parts of the region’s history that give new importance to the region in terms of national
impact. Further, while many Protestants were drawn to the second Great Awakening,
many of the region’s Jews moved toward rationalism and secularism. Jewish actions
reflected modernization, urbanization, and a cosmopolitan worldview in a region not well
known for those characteristics. Yet these Jews followed these paths partly to gain
acceptance in southern and American society. Why did going seemingly against the
grain work? Yet the issue is obviously more complex. Perhaps Jews sought and gained
acceptance generally most from the urban middle and upper class gentile society that
more closely shared their values. Again this emphasizes the region’s diversity.
Letter from Moritz Bettmann, Har Sinai Verein secretary, to Gotthold Salomon,
1842, Baltimore Jewish Historical Society Records, 1841-1963, microfilm 829, AJA.
A noble cause will make one bold. Knowing that good causes will always
be received by you, we are therefore sending you a few lines asking you also to

Page 35
devote a minor fraction of your precious time to our new “Verein,” which was
founded about five weeks ago.
If you ever received an account of the spiritual conditions of the Israelites
living in this city, based on strictest truth, you of course know that it is very
deplorable. Superstition, which has been fought so vigorously in Europe, appears
to be even more unhampered and unrestrained in this free country, where good as
well as evil has vast opportunities. Superstition is greater here than even among
the Orthodox Rabbis of Europe whose fanaticism is limited by the authoritative
decisions of the government.
There are two congregations in this city, each of them has its “shul” or
synagogue. One minister, Mr. Abraham Rice, is guarding both of them. He is
guarding their souls so that they may not be disturbed in their sound sleep. If
reason has succeeded in rousing the stupefied soul from its rest, if it is restless and
tormented by evil dreams, a soothing potion is quietly being prepared for which
the precious ingredients have been taken from the larder of mystics.
Such is the man who is supposed to give a good ring to the name “Jew.”
Is he the man who is supposed to make a Jew a worthy citizen of the Republic? A
Jew, who has transferred to this country his haggling mind, his wrong principles,
will be worse in this country. The Jew, who is finally beginning to see the light of
the day, does not find encouragement in this country, and he is humbling himself
under the yoke of the parson. The Jew, whose notions of religion are pure, whose
reasons conquered the power of habit, is lonely in this country in the midst of a
big crowd. He does not attend any public services, because they do not appeal

Page 36
either to his heart or his reason. He leaves it up to chance to stimulate his soul to
In order to fight this evil condition, we have founded a “Verein” called
Har Sinai and resolved to arrange services, the way they are arranged at the
Temple in Hamburg. In order to be able to do this, we most respectfully request
your gracious assistance, also one dozen prayer books, one dozen hymn books,
the music that goes with them, and we also ask for some of your sermons to be
able to start services as soon as possible on the coming holidays. We would be
very glad to receive them in the near future. To buy the objects mentioned above
we herewith assign to you $40.00 payable in Bremen at sight. Should this be
insufficient to cover the cost, we will gratefully remit the balance in our next
letter and if the opposite should be the case, we ask for more prayer books.
Our Verein is young indeed and still very weak in every respect, but its
few members are animated by the most mature zeal for the advancement and the
success of the good cause and we will work for it, if you will assist us with your
kind advice, for which we do not hope without reason, considering your
reputation as a man, who advances all good causes.
Finally, we should like to ask you to be kind enough to notify us in which
way we can receive the Judenzeitung by Dr. Philipson.
Most respectfully yours,
M. Bettman
Secretary – Har Sinai Verein

Page 37
The author researched this paper at a Director’s Fellow at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center
of the American Jewish Archives (2004) and as a Mason Fellow (Spring 2005) at the
College of William and Mary. He benefited greatly from feedback from an April 2005
presentation to the department of religion faculty at the latter and greatly appreciates the
support of both institutions and the assistance of the staff at the archives and at the Jewish
Museum of Maryland. The author also thanks Barabara J. Sibold for her careful reading
of the article and for obtaining and translating a key article.
The literature on Reform in Charleston is extensive. Key works include Gary P. Zola,
Isaac Harby of Charleston, 1788-1818 (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press,
1994); Zola, “The First Reform Prayer Book in America: The Liturgy of the Reform
Society of Israelites,” Platforms and Prayer Books ed by Dana Evan Kaplan (Lanham,
MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002): 99-118; James W. Hagy, This Happy Land: The Jews
of Colonial and Antebellum Charleston (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press,
1993); Theodore Rosengarten and Dale Rosengarten, eds, A Portion of the People: Three
Hundred Years of Southern Jewish Life (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina
Press, 2002); Robert Liberles, “Conflict Over Reforms: The Case of Beth Elohim,
Charleston, South Carolina,” The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed, ed. by
Jack Wertheimer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 274-96; Solomon
Breibart, The Rev. Mr.Gustavus Poznanski: First American Jewish Reform Minister
(Charleston, SC: Congregation K.K. Beth Elohim, 1979); Breibart, “Penina Moise:
Southern Jewish Poetess,” Jews of the South ed by Samuel Proctor and Louis Schmier
with Malcolm Stern (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1984), 31-43; Isaac Harby,
“Harby’s Discourse on the Jewish Synagogue,” Publications of the American Jewish
Historical Society 32 (1931): 49-51; Allan Tarshish, Since 1749 – The Story of K.K. Beth
Elohim of Charleston, S.C.: American Judaism through More Than Two Centuries
(Charleston, SC: Congregation K.K. Beth Elohim, 1976); Michael Meyer, Response to
Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in American Judaism (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1988); Leon Jick, The Americanization of the Synagogue: 1820-1870
(Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 1976; 1992); and the comments on the debate
between Meyer and Jick in Mark K. Bauman, “Perspectives: History from a Variety of
Vantage Points,” American Jewish History 90 (March 2002): 3-12.
On the history of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation see Adolf Guttmacher, A History of
the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Nidche Israel, 1830-1905 (Baltimore, MD: Lord
Baltimore Press, 1905); Rose Greenberg, The Chronicle of Baltimore Hebrew
Congregation, 1830-1975 (Baltimore: Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 1976).
Ira Rosenwaike indicates that Jacob Aaron arrived in Philadelphia from his native
Holland in 1820 and was in Baltimore by the following year. He was the proprietor of a
second hand clothing firm and considered a “respectable citizen” according to his
obituary. Rosenwaike lists Aaron’s death as March 31, 1842. According to one
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation historian, Har Sinai’s first service was conducted May
15, 1842. With only six weeks between the events it seems extremely likely that Aaron
and Arens are different spellings of the same name. The names of several members of
Har Sinai appear with spelling variations. See Ira Rosenwaike, “The Jews of Baltimore:
1820-1830,” American Jewish Historical Quarterly 67 (March 1978): 247-48;
Greenberg, Chronicle, 13.

Page 38
Isaac M. Fein, The Making of an American Jewish Community: The History of
Baltimore Jewry from 1773-1920 (Philadelphia, 1971); Isadore Blum, The Jews of
Baltimore (Baltimore: Historical Review Publishing Company, 1910), 12; Ira
Rosenwaike, “The Founding of Baltimore’s First Jewish Congregation: Fact vs. Fiction,”
American Jewish Archives 28 (1976): 119-25. The Jewish population in 1840 has been
estimated at 1,000 and in 1846, 1,500. See Lance Sussman, “The Economic Life of the
Jews of Baltimore as Reflected in the City Directories: 1819-1840,” 2 (term paper,
Hebrew Union College, May 17, 1977), Small Collections 663, Jacob Rader Marcus
Center of the American Jewish Archives (hereafter cited as AJA). On Har Sinai Verein’s
split from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, see William S. Rayner, Souvenir Jubilee
Year Har Sinai Congregation, 1842-1892 (Baltimore: Guggenheim, Weil, and Co.,
1892), 6-7; Charles A. Rubenstein, History of Har Sinai Congregation of the City of
Baltimore (Baltimore: Kohn and Pollack, 1918); Jick, The Americanization of the
Synagogue, 71 ff. Rayner, who had arrived in Baltimore in 1840, knew the founders and
was a congregation reader and leader. Rubenstein based much of his story on Rayner’s
account. Rubenstein’s volume included a copy of the act of incorporation. For a
sympathetic view of Rice and his struggles against innovation and for tradition, see Israel
Tabak, “Rabbi Abraham Rice of Baltimore: Pioneer of Orthodox Judaism in America,”
Tradition 7 (Summer 1965): 100-20.
Isaac Leeser, “The Israelites of Baltimore,” Occident and American Jewish Advocate
[hereafter Occident], II, February 1845. (all articles from this newspaper are available
, accessed January 2006). In the same
“News Items” section Lesser reported on a similar undertaking in New York, “We hear it
reported that a society or congregation having in view a reform á la mode de Hamburg,
has been established, and that a Mr. [Rev. Leo] Merzbach[er], a German, is to be the
preacher. . . . [members] must be for the most part persons but lately arrived in this
country, who have brought with them the spirit of ‘young Germany,’ allas [SIC]
‘experiment in religion and politics.’” Reform at the Hamburg Temple was limited by
government sanction at the instigation of the Orthodox community. According to Rayner
(Souvenir Jubilee, 9), “Talmudic recitations which had lost all devotional interest were
relinquished. Prayers in the vernacular and soul stirring hymns with organ
accompaniment were introduced instead; otherwise it was a mere beginning towards
reform as to dogmatic differences between it and the orthodox creed of Judaism.” On the
German and especially Hamburg origins of most of the early Reform congregations in
American see David Philipson, The Reform Movement in Judaism (New York: KTAV,
1967 [orig. pub. 1907). Later authors have largely followed Philipson’s analysis. See,
for example, Alan Silverstein, Alternative to Assimilation: The Response of Reform
Judaism to American Culture, 1840-1930 (Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press,
1994), 18-19; Meyer, Response to Modernity, 226, 236-7 (for New York’s Emanu-El and
Merzbacher). Silverstein emphasizes parallels between the development of Reform
Judaism and Christianity in the United States. Meyer writes, “[t]he classical Reform
ideology in America was almost fully developed in Europe and merely transplanted to the
United States…” Meyer highlights differences between conditions in America and
Europe that made the United States a more conducive environment for the spread and
development of Reform.

Page 39
Abraham Shusterman, The Legacy of a Liberal: The Miracle of Har Sinai Congregation
(Har Sinai Congregation: Baltimore, 1967), 9.
Rayner quoted in Rubenstein, Har Sinai, n.p.
cf. Jick, The Americanization of the Synagogue, 79, 80-81.
Besides the histories of Maryland Jewry and Rayner, Souvenir Jubilee, 5, see Jeffrey
Stiffman, “Prologomena to the Study of the Jewish Community of Baltimore,” (MA
thesis, Hebrew Union College, 1965).
Michael A. Meyer, “German-Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century America,” in
Jacob Katz, ed., Toward Modernity: The European Jewish Model (New Brunswick:
Transaction Books, 1987), 249, 251 (quotation), and passim. It is questionable that the
members of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation lacked identity with Germany. Rice never
mastered English and Har Sinai offered Hebrew, English, and German instruction. (Fein,
Making of an American Jewish Community, 69) Moreover German culture was a
dominant force in the city. The city hosted several German language newspapers and
German was taught in the public schools until 1917. Regardless of congregational
affiliation, Jews joined the Concordia German Society, German charity organizations,
building and loan associations, and music and literary societies. A local company printed
prayer books for Har Sinai and Oheb Shalom in German. Louis F. Cahn, The History of
Oheb Shalom, 1853-1953 (Baltimore: Oheb Shalom Congregation, 1953), 12.
The extensive literature on the concept of Bildung and its impact on Jews in Germany
includes George L. Mosse, “Jewish Emancipation Between Bildung and Respectability,”
in Jehuda Reinhartz and Walter Schatzberg, eds, The Jewish Response to German
Culture (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England for Clark University, 1985), 1-
16; Jacob Katz, “German Culture and the Jews,” in Reinhartz and Schatzberg, eds,
Jewish Response, 85-99; David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780-
1840 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); H.I. Bach, The German Jew: A
Synthesis of Judaism and Western Civilization, 1730-1930 (London: Oxford University
Press, 1984). One of purposes stated by Har Sinai’s incorporators for joining together
was “for their mutual improvement in moral and religious knowledge,” a concept
perfectly in accord with Bildung. The Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment involved the
regeneration of Jews and Judaism. Such regeneration, or modernization, became a
prerequisite for emancipation in Germany. See copy of Act of Incorporation of Har Sinai
Verein Society, 1844, SC 668, AJA.
For this and following, see Ismar Schorsch, “Emancipation and the Crisis of Religious
Authority: The Emergence of the Modern Rabbinate,” in Werner E. Mosse, Arnold
Paucker, and Reinhard Rurup, eds, Revolution and Evolution: 1848 German-Jewish
History (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1981), 205-47, (230 for quotations).
Schorsch, “Emancipation,” 208-9, 228-29, 231. In 1826 the Vienna Reform
congregation was led by a preacher and a cantor, a model followed by the Hamburg
Temple and also in Amsterdam, Bohemia, Württemberg, and elsewhere. Philipson,
Reform Movement, 76.
Uriel Tal, “German-Jewish Social Thought in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” in Mosse,
Paucker, and Rurup, eds, Revolution and Evolution, 313; Bach, German Jew, 83. By
taking the name Har Sinai, Baltimore reformers emphasized the revelation of the Ten

Page 40
Commandments at Mount Sinai and the primacy of the Bible over later commentaries.
Shusterman, Legacy of a Liberal, 12.
The authority of the Talmud was a key element in many of the conflicts in Germany
between rabbis. This included the conflict between Abraham Geiger and S.A. Titkin.
See Philipson, Reform Movement, chapter 3, “The Geiger-Titkin Affair,” 69-70 (for
Einhorn’s rejection of Talmudic authority), 342 (for Isaac Mayer Wise). German
Reformer rabbis advocated Reform through rabbinical conferences, a policy and
philosophy they transported to America and reached greatest fruition under David
Einhorn and his sons-in-law, Emil G. Hirsch and Kaufmann Kohler. Einhorn and
Leopold Stein of Burgkunstadt, Bavaria, were two of Geiger’s defenders. Stein’s
students resided in Baltimore and Cincinnati. See Meyer, “German-Jewish Identity,”
256; Philipson, Reform Movement, 72. Harking back to Moses Mendelssohn, Judaism
was to be a natural religion based on reason rather than symbolic acts and dogma. Now
lacking coercion, the religion’s tools were to be persuasion and instruction, and Judaism
could be a confession without an ecclesiastical structure.” The latter implicitly narrowed
the authority the rabbis. Initially lacking worldly learning, the rabbis also epitomized
what was perceived as Jewish degeneracy. Sorkin, Transformation, 70(quotation), 77.
Such individual freedom and rejection of communal control was an outgrowth of the
Enlightenment. Bach, German Jew, 81-2.
M [oritz] Bettmann to Gotthold Salomon, 1842, Baltimore Jewish Historical Society
Records, 1841-1963, microfilm 829, AJA.
For Einhorn and his conflict with Wise, see Meyer, Response to Reform, 244-50.
Orthodox stalwart Abraham Rice also rejected the Cleveland Conference on the grounds
that the rabbis involved were attempting to spread Reform instead of acting as a Beth
Din, or Jewish court and that they were not qualified in Talmud. Ironically Rice also
argued that a council did not have the right or authority to establish a platform. Tabak
describes the exchange of letters in Leeser’s Occident “as erudite and as bitter as any
pronouncements ever published on the subject” and incorrectly identifies Einhorn as a
conference supporter. Tabak, “Rice of Baltimore,” 115 (quotation) -17.
Rayner, Souvenir Jubilee, 16-17. Although Leeser’s Occident typically ignored
Einhorn and Har Sinai when not feuding with them, it carried stories concerning rejection
of the Cleveland Platform and the protest over the Board of Delegates of American
Israelites. See Frank M. Waldorf, “A Study of Maryland Jewry as Reflected in The
Occident, 1850-1861,” (term paper, Hebrew Union College, May 24, 1962).
Einhorn, and presumably at least some of his congregants since they did not denounce
his position and they did welcome him back, associated the fight to end slavery with the
1848 revolutions in Europe and desire for freedom. Bernard Illoway, of traditional
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, supported slavery, and pled for peace and reconciliation
before the war but ultimately supported the southern policy of states’ rights and the right
of secession. Isaac M. Fein correlates religious observance and positions on the Civil
War in “Baltimore Jews during the Civil War,” AJHQ 51 (December 1961): 67-96 (68-
69, 70-71, 83-84, for Einhorn and Illowy). See also Shusterman, Legacy of a Liberal, 21-
3. Meyer argues that lay leaders in America provided the foundation for Reform but that,
in contrast to the argument presented here, German rabbis who came to America were
required for the “intellectual foundation.” Meyer, Response to Modernity, 236. The

Page 41
doctrinal statements at rabbinical conferences were more recordings and extensions of the
already extent philosophy than dramatically new theories.
Philipson argued that Reform languished until the arrival of rabbinical leaders from
Germany. Later historians, as in so many cases, followed Philipson’s interpretation.
Philipson, Reform Movement, 339; Meyer, “German-Jewish Identity,” 256; Jick,
Americanization, 70; Silverstein, Alternative to Assimilation, 22.
Mosse argues that the concept of Bildung was conjoined with that of Sittlichkeit which
he defines in part as “the open-endedness and individualism thought necessary for
character formation.” Mosse, “Jewish Emancipation,” 3.
Einhorn and I.M. Wise were bitter opponents but Einhorn also attacked Benjamin
Szold, newly arrived rabbi of Baltimore’s Oheb Shalom. Szold was a proponent of
Zacharias Frankel’s middle of the road Positive Historical School approach. The attack
in the pages of Sinai was followed with responses in the Wise’s American Israelite, the
Asmonean, and the [New York] Jewish Herald in a typical rabbinical newspaper war.
See American Israelite, December 9, 1859, March 30, 1860, Benjamin Szold, “Einhorn
Exposed,” (typed column, c. January, 1860), Har Sinai Congregation Collection, 1842-
1949, MS 54, Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore.
Philipson, Reform Movement, 337.
See Zola, Isaac Harby, 126-27, 141-42; Hagy, This Happy Land, 130-31, 146-49, 154;
Meyer, Response to Modernity, 231-32, 234-35. Hagy (p. 149-50) incorrectly states that
nothing like the violently anti-rabbanical statements of the Charleston reformers appeared
in Europe for at least another two decades. He associates the Reform Society’s
statements with Sephardim in London. Hagy provides a complete analysis of
interpretations concerning Charleston Reform (pp. 128-60, 236-273).
Maurice Mayer, “Geschichte des reliosen Umschwunges unter den Israeliten
Nordamericas,” Sinai 1 (1856), 243. This article was obtained and translated for the
author by Barbara Sibold of Cologne, Germany. He greatly appreciates her assistance.
See also Jonathan D. Sarna, American Judaism, A History (New Haven, CN: Yale
University Press, 2004), 110.
Philipson, Reform Movement, 333; Allan Tarshish, “The Charleston Organ Case,”
AJHQ 54 (June 1965): 411-49; Meyer, Response to Modernity, 233-35. Jonathan D.
Sarna sees the Charleston organ case as a turning point in American Jewish history
because the court’s decided that they lacked jurisdiction in re separation of church and
state which left decisions up to congregation majorities. Sarna, “The Question of Music
in American Judaism: Reflections at 350 Years,” AJH 91 (June 2003): 195-204.
Meyer, “German-Jewish Identity,” 255; Meyer, Response to Modernity, 449, n. 32.
Philipson, Reform Movement, 334-45. The Reform Society of Israelites obviously used
the society title but not the cultur verein label.
Philipson, Reform Movement, chapter 4, “The Hamburg Temple Prayer-Book
Controversy,” especially 79-85. Bernays, although in some ways reforming practice
himself (he has been called the first orthodox rabbi to preach sermons regularly), forbid
the use of the prayer book and attempted to revise excommunication for its adherents.
Bach, German Jew, 87-90, 99.

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Hagy, This Happy Land, 146-7, 246; Eli N. Evans, “Preface,” in Rosengarten and
Rosengarten, eds, Portion of the People, xv. On Harby’s anti-rabbanism, see Meyer,
Response to Modernity, 230-32.
Har Sinai Congregation Minutes, August 3, 1845, 141-43, Baltimore Jewish Historical
Society Records, 1841-1963, microfilm 829, AJA.
Copy of Simon Eytinge naturalization, Baltimore City Court Records, September 20,
1834, p. 84; copy of Abraham Nachman naturalization certificate, Baltimore City Court
Records, September 13, 1851.
Philipson, Reform Movement, 109-23, 227 (Berlin); Robert Liberles, Religious Conflict
in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt am Main, 1838-
1877 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985), 43-48. As might be expected, this society also
rejected the concept of a personal messiah, and return to Israel. In 1844 Leopold Stein
was elected Frankfurt’s associate rabbi and became the chief rabbi after the senior rabbi
resigned in protest. His moderate reforms ultimately de-railed the more radical reform
impulse. (Philipson, 137-8) Charleston’s K.K. Beth Elohim, moving toward Reform
under Poznanski, had published its own creedal statement in 1841 that was also
condemned as heretical. Meyer, Response to Modernity, 234.
Isaac Leeser, “The Frankfurt Reform Society,” Occident, II, September, 1844; Leeser,
“The Congregation of British Jews, London,” Occident, II, February 1845 (both include
references to Hamburg); Leeser, “The Reform Agitation [in Hamburg],” Occident, III,
January 1846. Although both of these articles appeared after the emergence of Reform in
Baltimore, an attack on Poznanski in 1843 referred to the Hamburg Temple. It is obvious
from this and numerous other accounts in Leeser’s paper that all of the happenings in
Germany including the rabbinical conferences were well known and debated among Jews
in America. Leeser, “Letter to the Rev. G. Poznanski,” Occident, I, August 1843; Leeser,
“The Dangers of Our Position [the Brunswick, Germany conference],” Occident, II,
November 1844 (available ONLINE at
, accessed
January 2006).
Meyer (Response to Modernity, 236-37) argues that the people in Baltimore must have
been aware of events in Hamburg because of the recent new building and prayer book.
Alexander Altman, “The New Style of Preaching in Nineteenth-Century German
Jewry,” Essays in Jewish Intellectual History (Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press,
1981), 190-245 (quotation: 190); Liberles, Religious Conflict in Social Context, 23;
Sorkin, Transformation, 45, 81 (second quotation), 82-5, 120 (third quotation). During
the 1820s and 1830s several Germanic states mandated German sermons as part of their
policy to modernize Jews so that Jews could qualify as good citizens. In 1826-27 the
study of oratory was made mandatory in Bavaria for rabbinic students but the preachers
and teachers dominated sermons until this generation of university-trained rabbis entered
the field. Sorkin, Transformation, 130-31. New York’s Emanu-El hired a second rabbi
to preach in English in 1868. Meyer, “German-Jewish Identity,” 255.
Leeser, “Reform Agitation.” Surprisingly, Leeser published one of Salomon’s sermons
in its entirety without editorial comment. “Specimens of German Preachers: Moses and
Jethro, a Sermon on Exodus 18 by Gottholt [SIC] Salomon, Preacher at the Temple at
Hamburg, delivered in 1842,” Occident, II, April 1844. Leeser also used Kley’s 1814
Berlin catechism as the model for his own although others were available and credited

Page 43
Kley’s as “the most suitable.” Isaac Leeser, “Preface,” Catechism for Jewish Children
(Philadelphia, 1839) (available ONLINE at
, accessed
January 2006). This seeming irony reflected Leeser’s tendency for acculturation even as
he renounced it in others who went beyond him.
Silverstein, Alternative to Assimilation, 23-4. Silverstein notes that Rev Braun
(Brown) at Har Sinai gave sermons during the 1840s. Sermons were delivered in
Charleston as early as 1791 but only for special occasions. Among other issues, the
dissident reformers petitioned for the introduction of a weekly “discourse” in the
vernacular. Meyer, Response to Modernity, 228. On Gratz and her impact on Lesser see
Dianne Ashton, Rebecca Gratz, Woman and Judaism in Antebellum America (Detroit:
Wayne State University Press, 1997). On this traditionalist in America who nonetheless
introduced moderate change see Lance Sussman, Isaac Leeser and the Making of
American Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995). Rice denounced those
who rejected a personal messiah and return to Israel in “The Messiah: A Sermon,”
Occident, I, September 1843 and defended the authority of the Talmud and rabbis’ right
to make laws in “Editorial Correspondence: Letter of Rev. Mr. Rice – The Oral Law,”
Occident, II, August 1844. For a description of two of Rice’s sermons including one in
which he explains why synagogue honors during services should be given only to
Sabbath-observant Jews see Tabak, “Rice of Baltimore,” 104-108.
Sorkin, Transformation, 87-97, 130-39. Sorkin lists numerous books of sermons by
Kley and Salomon in his bibliography (226-27).
Trans. by Leonard Oschry (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970).
See also Sorkin, Transformation, 17-18, 112-13. Newspapers, a key source of
information on congregational life and Reform, offered an outlet for religious debate in a
free society. Taken in this light, the request by Har Sinai to obtain copies of Philipsons’
Judenzeitung complements the request for prayer books, hymnals, and sermons.
Bettmann to Salomon.
Katz, Jews and Freemasons; Liberles, Religious Conflict in Social Context, 24-6.
The challenge to religious community hegemony over the lives of Jews began in the
mid seventeenth century. Sorkin, Transformation, 41-44.
For further linkage between the Masons, Enlightenment, rights, and Reform, see R.
William Weisberger, “Freemasonry as a Source of Jewish Civic Rights in Late
Eighteenth-Century Vienna and Philadelphia: A Study in Atlantic History,” East
European Quarterly 34 (January 2001): 419-45, a copy of which was graciously provided
by Professor Weisberger.
Katz, Jews and Freemasons, 91, 125.
Zola, Isaac Harby, 122, 124; Deborah Dash Moore, B’nai B’rith and the Challenge of
Ethnic Leadership (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981); Meyer,
“German-Jewish Identity,” 252; Meyer, Response to Modernity, 231. In 1844 Jeshurun
Lodge began in Baltimore, the third B’nai B’rith lodge to be established. (Fein, Making
of an American Jewish Community, 130)
William Toll, The Making of an Ethnic Middle Class: Portland Jewry Over Four
Generations (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982); Hasia R. Diner, A
Time for Gathering: The Second Migration, 1820-1880 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1992), 109-113.

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Blum, Jews of Baltimore, 7-8; Rosenwaike, “Jews of Baltimore, 1820 to 1830,” 259, n.
Wachtman’s son David appears in a circumcision book in 1849 with Baltimore as the
residence. See Elizabeth Kessin Berman, “M.S. Pollock’s Circumcision Record Book,”
Generations (Fall 1989), 15. Simpson appears in the 1833 and 1849-50 Baltimore City
Directory and Wachtman in the 1842 and 1845 issues.
US Census return for Cincinnati, 1870. The other individuals who appear on
Cincinnati census returns are Joseph Greensfelder, Isaac Lowman, Samuel Wolf, William
Wolf, and Samuel Pike. It is possible that these are other individuals with the same name
but information on place and birth and occupation makes it likely that these were the
same individuals. Rev. J. Rosenfeld, who had previously served Charleston’s KKBE,
occupied the pulpit of Bene Jeshurun prior to I.M. Wise’s arrival in 1853. Bernhard
Bettman was the first president of Cincinnati’s United Jewish Charities (1896-1903) and
James Lowman presided over that city’s Jewish Hospital Association (1889-1904) but it
has not been possible to determine any relationship to the Baltimore families. Jonathan
D. Sarna and Nancy H. Klein, eds, The Jews of Cincinnati, (Cincinnati: HUC-JIR, 1989),
92, 95.
For this and the following see funeral remembrance for Joseph Simpson, 1856; eulogy
for Simpson, 1856; unidentified obituary for Simpson; all in Joseph Simpson papers,
Jewish Historical Society of Maryland.
United Hebrew Benevolent Society Charter, March 12, 1834, Histories, Jacob R.
Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (hereafter cited as AJA); Blum, Jews of
Baltimore, 7-8, 11-2.
Max Sutro traveled from Bremen to Baltimore, Baltimore Immigration and Passenger
Lists, 1820-1872, M255, roll 3, list 65. Lawrence Grossman, “Isaac Leeser’s Mentor:
Rabbi Abraham Sutro, 1784-1869,” in Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Memorial Volume ed
by Leo Landman (New York, 1980), 151-62; Lance J. Sussman, Isaac Leeser and the
Making of American Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995), 23-4, 27.
Grossman describes Abraham Sutro as an ardent defender of Orthodoxy and critic of
Scott M. Langston, “James K. Gutheim as Southern Reform Rabbi, Community
Leader, and Symbol,” Southern Jewish History 5 (2002), 70.
Mayer, “Geschichte,” 199, 201.
Rubenstein, Har Sinai, n.p.
Account of dedication program reported in American and Commercial Daily
Advertiser as cited in W. Gunther Plaut, The Growth of Reform Judaism (New York:
World Union of Progressive Judaism, 1965), 9-10.
In 1856, Rayner also assisted in the reorganization of the Society for Educating Poor
and Orphan Hebrew Children into the Hebrew Benevolent Society of which he became
president. Samuel Dellevie, Isaac Hamburger, and Ignatius Lauer were also charter
members of the later as were prominent members of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
Dellevie served as treasurer. See US Census from Baltimore, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1890;
Baltimore City Directory, 1890; Rayner, Souvenir of Jubilee Year, 4; Blum, Jews of
Maryland, xl, 8, 17; Baltimore Hebrew Benevolent Society State Charter, November 18,

Page 45
1856, AJA; Occident, vols 14 and 15, 1857 cited in Waldorf, “A Study of Maryland
Jewry,” 17.
Bettmann to Salomon, 1842.
Dellevie first appears in the 835 Baltimore City Directory, see also 1845 and 1849-50
(where he appears as the owner of a cigar and match store). The US Census returns for
Baltimore list him and his family in 1880 and 1890 with spouse Kate born in Bavaria in
1814. He is listed as a merchant traveling to Hamburg from New York in 1857 on the
New York Passenger Lists, 1851-1891, roll 178, list number 1114, line 26, which would
indicate continued contact with events in Germany. See also Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry
Statistics;” Occident, April 1857, 43 (lists Dellevie as congregation treasurer); Baltimore
Sun, November 25, 1840 (notes November 22
wedding), September 4, 1893 (obituary);
Rayner, Souvenir of Jubilee, Leon Dellevie, possibly a relative, was a founder of the Fell
Point Congregation. For this and other possible relatives see Samuel Dellevie file,
Jewish Historical Society of Maryland. Mayer, “Geschichte,” 199, n. 1, added by editor
David Einhorn. Dellevie served as congregation president when this article was
published in 1856.
US Census from Baltimore, 1840, 1850, 1860; Hutzler family tree; “Notes written by
Mrs. David Hutzler in August 1932, for her daughter;” Joel Gutman David Hutzler, 75
Birthday, 23 December 1967: A Family History;” (hereafter cited as “Hutzler Family
History,”), (the author of the latter disputes the claim of Mrs. David Hutzler and the other
accounts that the Richmond Hutzlers were relatives) all in Hutzler folder, Jewish
Historical Society of Maryland; Frances F. Beirne, Hutzler’s: 1858-1968: A Pictoral
History (Baltimore, privately printed, 1968); Hutzler Family Tree, July 1898, AJA; Lewis
I. Held, Held Family History I (n.p.: privately published, 1990), AJA. Hutzler’s
Department Store remained in business until it was sold in 1981. Gilbert Sandler, Jewish
Baltimore: A Family Album (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 69-72,
108. Hutzler appears in the Baltimore city directories as a peddler in 1842. By 1849-50
he is listed as a dry goods dealer. Baltimore City Directory; Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry
Statistics.” On his observance see Rubenstein, Har Sinai, n.p.
US Census for Baltimore, 1870; Cahn, History of Oheb Shalom, 15, 21-2; Blum, Jews
of Maryland, 13. Hamburger’s department store remained in business until it was sold to
Van Heusen in 1968. Sandler, Jewish Baltimore, 103. Besides listing Isaac as a clothier
beginning in 1853, the city directories also include Aaron (beginning 1842) and Kaufman
(beginning 1850) as clothiers. These men also appear with their families in the US
Census from Baltimore, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880. Since Aaron and Kaufman arrived on
the same ship from Germany in 1837, they were likely brothers and likely as was Isaac.
Baltimore Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872, M255, roll 2, list 51; Baltimore
City Directory; Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry Statistics.”
Baltimore City Directory 1849-50; Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry Statistics.”
Greensfelder first appears in the city directories in 1840. His son Moses appears in the
1860 directory as a clerk. Partner Michael Heilbrun worked as a clock and watch maker
before their partnership and Heilbrun and Weil dry goods afterward. See US Census for
Baltimore, 1850 (listing his date and place of birth and those of his wife, sons Moses [b.
1845, Maryland], and Samuel [b. 1847, Maryland], and two women born in Germany
1825 and 1830 and census returns for 1870 listing S. Greensfelder and family, and a

Page 46
wholesale milliner, Joseph Greensfelder (b. 1819, Bavaria) and family, possibly another
brother; Baltimore City Directory, 1845, 1849-50 (where he appears as Greensfelder and
Bro. trimming dealers); Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry Statistics.” The Bernard Greensfelder
file at the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland includes adds from his drug business
listing Lampheimer’s Unrivalled Hair Regenerator and Greensfelder’s Worm
Confections, unidentified newspaper ads with his annotation concerning purchase of the
warehouse, and Har Sinai Congregation Minutes, April 10, 1842 listing him as president,
and the bond agreement for the literary and drama society.
Baltimore City Directory, 1842 (Levi), 1845 (Levi), 1849-50 (Levy). The listings have
Light Street Wharf addresses (27 ½, 107, and 101).
US Census for Baltimore, 1860; Baltimore City Directory, 1842; Lauer Four-
Generation Pedigree Chart, Lauer/Haustein file, Jewish Historical Society of Maryland.
Lewis Lauer also had a brother, Ignatz or Ignatius (b. 1819, Germany), also a Baltimore
resident, early member of Har Sinai, congregation secretary by 1845, trimming store
proprietor (1845) and later merchant and custom house officer. By 1849-50 Lewis Lauer
is listed as Lewis Lauer and Co. importer of fancy dry goods and wholesale dealer. See
US Census for Maryland, 1850, 1870; Baltimore City Directory, 1842, 1849-50. Various
other Lauers, possibly relatives, from Germany appear in these sources.
Baltimore City Directory, 1842 and 1849-50; US Census for Baltimore, 1870.
Lawrence was married to Theresa (b. 1820, Bavaria) and they had a son, David H. (b.
1860, Maryland).
Baltimore City Directory, 1842, 1845; US Census returns for Baltimore, 1880,
indicates that Simon and Bettie Rosenthal had eight children; for Moser see US Census
for Baltimore, 1880, Baltimore Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872, M255, roll
3, list 74.
Maryland Free Press, December 1, 1849; Maryland Republican, December 14, 1850
(for sale of the saloon to Morris Moser); Thomas G. Ford, History of the United States
Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD: Nimitz Library, US Naval Academy, 1979).
Rosenthal’s son Jacob appears in a circumcision book in 1847 with Annapolis as the
residence. See Berman, “M.S. Pollock’s Circumcision Record Book,” 11. These sources
were graciously provided by Professor Eric Goldstein.
Nettie Pike, Pike Family Memory Book, AJA; Sarna and Klein, Jews of Cincinnati, 39.
Baltimore City Directory, 1842, 1845; US Census for Baltimore, 1850 (where they are
listed as 34 and 27 years old); US Census for Cincinnati (where they appear as 52 and
Baltimore City Directory 1849-50; US Census for Baltimore, 1850; Sussman,
“Economic Life,” 10.
Simpson eulogy; “Hutzler: A Family History;” Blum, Jews of Maryland, xl.
Eytinge first appears in the Baltimore city directories in 1833 as a pawn broker. By
1842 he was listed as a merchant. See also 1845, 1849-50 (where he appears as a
furniture and variety store proprietor and where a Samuel Eytinge also appears as a
furniture store owner) Baltimore City Directory; Francis B. Silberg, “Baltimore Jewry
Statistics, 1789-1860,” (term paper, Hebrew Union College, 1970).
Edwin Wolf II and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews of Philadelphia
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1957), 353, 492. Simon Eytinge and his wife

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arrived in New York from Antwerp in 1828 already classified as a merchant. See New
York Passenger and Immigration List Records, 1820-1850, M237, roll 11, List 313.
Henry Eytinge (b. 1848), probably a son, is listed in the US Census returns for Baltimore,
1880, as a notion store keeper. Henry’s spouse, Bertha (b. 1851), was born in Maryland
to Prussian-born parents.
Rosenwaike, “Jews of Baltimore, 1820 to 1830,” 249; Hebrew Love and Friendship
Beneficial Society of Baltimore Act of Incoporation, February 1, 1844, SC 676, AJA..
Abraham Nachman was from Hesse Darmstadt, Nachman naturalization certificate.
Extract Abraham Nachman birth certificate, Mainz, September 16, 1823 (Dyer was also
born in Mainz/Mayence); Simon Eytinge will, August 19, 1869; Samuel Cohen Eytinge
birth certificate, January 7, 1825; Eytinge naturalization certificate; comments written by
descendent on reverse of picture of Har Sinai Congregation presidents; all in Eytinge-
Nachman Family file, Jewish Historical Society of Maryland. Copy of “Protest against a
resolution of Dr. Isaac M. Wise and others ‘that the Talmud is acknowledged by all
Israelites as the legal and obligatory commentary of the Bible,’” signed by Rabbi David
Einhorn, A. Nachman, and the entire membership of Har Sinai Congregation, November </nob