Temple Emanu-El NYC

Rabbi Gary P. Zola, Ph.D., discusses the first organized effort to reform Judaism in North America, which happened in November of 1824 — almost 190 years ago — in Charleston, S.C. What sparked this desire to modernize Judaism, and why did American Reform Judaism make its very first appearance in Charleston? Were Charleston’s Jewish reformers influenced by their German predecessors, or were these innovators responding to distinctively American circumstances? (Lecture was held November 7, 2013.)

RABBI GARY P. ZOLA is executive director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and professor of the American Jewish experience at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. The AJA is the world’s largest free-standing research center dedicated solely to the study of the American Jewish experience. His much anticipated book "We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, a Documentary History" will be published in February 2014.

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Temple Emanu-El NYC

Temple Emanu-El NYC

Founded in 1845, Temple Emanu-El is the third oldest Reform Jewish congregation in the United States. Its odyssey mirrors that of the Jewish community in New York. Originally located on a remote corner on the Lower East Side, it moved progressively, both


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Founded in 1845, Temple Emanu-El is the third oldest Reform Jewish congregation in the United States. Its odyssey mirrors that of the Jewish community in New York. Originally located on a remote corner on the Lower East Side, it moved progressively, both geographically and spiritually, further uptown, and is now located in the very heart of New York City, on the Upper East Side.

With a membership of more than 3,000 families and 10,000 people, it is the largest congregation of Jewish worshippers in the world. The Emanu-El Main Sanctuary, seating 2,500, makes it one of the world’s largest Jewish houses of worship. Within its walls, an enormous range of social, educational and cultural programs are offered.

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