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19 th century stories
The first Jews of Dorsten
Dorsten 1820: "Violence in
the synagogue itself"
Eisendrath Family in Dorsten
The family name
Julia Eisendrath - portrait of
a Jewish Mama
Eulogy at the grave of
Julia Eisendrath
Jewish real property in Dorsten
Nathan Eisendrath emigrates
David Samson Eisendrath
Establishing in the USA
Migration of Jews from Europe
to North America
20 th century stories
Visits to Europe since the 1920s
1933: A Protest Letter to
President Hindenburg (1933)
The Letter in full text
The Eisendrath branch in Zaandam/Netherlands
The last jewish place in Dorsten
Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath
Charles R. Eisendrath: An
identity and family history that
are inextricably linked (1999)
21 st century stories
Adam Eisendrath: The German Heritage Quest - February 2000
Dorsten contacts and
visits 2001-2007
Family Reunion 2010
The journey of two prayer books
Who and why?
The Dorsten research group
and the Jewish Museum
of Westphalia
 
* The signature in the header above
is that of Samson Nathan Eisendrath
(from the year 1840)
 
 
Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath

Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1902, and attended schools in Cincinnati. He received a B.A. degree in 1925 from the University of Cincinnati, where he majored in philosophy. After studies at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati he was ordained in 1926.

In early 1968 Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath (with Torah scroll) participated in a protest demonstration against the Vietnam War by marching to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Joining him were about 2,000 people, half of whom were religious leaders of different faiths.

 

He was an author, interfaith and social action activist, and a leader of Reform Judaism. From 1929 he was for many years the spiritual leader of Toronto's Holy Blossom Temple.  A passionate champion of prophetic Judaism, Eisendrath applied social justice values to the struggle for civil rights, equal justice, peace in the midst of the Vietnam conflict, inter-religious cooperation for human rights and social justice. “Nobody slept during his tenure,” writes Al Vorspan, “for he was a disturber of sleep who brought discomfort to the comfortable.”

Rabbi Eisendrath was involved in many religious and secular controversies during his long career. He was active in the civil rights movement working with the late Dr. Martin Luther King and in the anti-war movement. This kind of support for the civil rights of African Americans was rather controversial within the Jewish communities – cf. the letter of Rabbi Eisendrath from November 1963.

His address was to have included a plea for amnesty for those who refused to serve in the army during the Vietnam War. His address was also to have contained a strong defense of Judaism. "The world needs Judaism," he said, "its compassion instead of the machismo of today's violence, its optimism in the face of despair, its compassion in the face of human callousness, its reverence for the life of the mind in defiance of emotionalism run riot, its love of learning and passion for justice, its hunger for peace as the apex of God's kingdom and its partnership with God in setting the world aright."

He served as national chairman, public relations of the United Jewish Community of Canada, was a co-founder of the Canadian Conference of Christians and Jews, and president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC). When he became executive director in 1943, the organization had a few hundred Reform congregations. Today there are more than 700 member congregations in the U.S. and Canada.

(Pic: Leo Baeck with Maurice Eisendrath)

 

He was Assistant Contributing Editor of the Canadian Jewish Review. His weekly columns to this paper and his views, opposing Zionism were a source of controversy. Rabbi Eisendrath died in 1973.

The Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) has named its highest honor Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award for Service to the World Community. Every two years at the URJ Biennial, the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award is conferred in two categories: Service to Reform Jewry and Service to the World Community. Past recipients of the Eisendrath Award include Shimon Peres, Abba Eban, Anwar Sadat and Amos Oz.

Since 1961 the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) – the organized youth movement of Reform Judaism in North America – has been running a summer-long program for Reform Jewish high school students called “Eisendrath International Exchange”. Its aim is to build bridges of connection and understanding between Israel and North America.

 
   
 

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