Proceedings of the First General Convention and Preamble, Constitution and By-Laws of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

AUCTION 61 | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic Art and Ceremonial Objects

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Lot 27

Proceedings of the First General Convention and Preamble, Constitution and By-Laws of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

pp. 27. Original printed wrappers. Upper corner of front cover and title-page torn, light wear at edges. 8vo.

Cincinnati: Bloch & Co 1873

Est: $8,000 - $10,000
<<the first publication of the american union for reform judaism, the oldest american federation of jewish congregations.>> Today’s Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) was formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), an organization supporting Reform Jewish congregations in North America. The origins of the URJ began with the founding of the UAHC by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise in 1873 and was based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2003, the UAHC was officially renamed the Union for Reform Judaism by the General Assembly at the organization’s Biennial Convention. The former name was dropped because it reflected Wise’s unrealized expectation that the whole of American Jewry would eventually affiliate with the Reform movement. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of Reform Judaism in North America, was a native of Bohemia who came to the United States in 1846. As the rabbi of Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany, NY, he introduced many reforms in worship services, such as the seating of men and women together and choral singing. These changes were not universally welcome, leading to his dismissal on Rosh HaShanah in 1850. Four years later Rabbi Wise went to Cincinnati’s congregation Beth Eichim, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. In 1873 representatives of 34 congregations from 13 Midwestern and Southern states gathered in Cincinnati to found the Union of American Hebrew Congregations with one major purpose: To establish a seminary where American rabbis could be trained for American congregations. By 1875 membership of the Union had grown to 72 congregations, including the “radical” congregations from the East Coast as well as moderate ones (that would later break off to join the Conservative movement). It was that year that the Hebrew Union College was founded. The present pamphlet is the highly scarce first publication to bear the name “Union of American Hebrew Congregations.” It documents the founding of the governing body of American Reform Judaism, its’ constitution and the by-laws adopted. Unrecorded by Singerman, no copy located in Worldcat. Remarkably, not even The Hebrew Union College itself possesses a copy.