91 199 LEESER, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript. By-Laws of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites. Text in English. 17 pages, few short tears. With typed transcription. New York, 1859. $10,000 - $15,000 ❧ The Board of Delegates of American Israelites established in 1859 with headquarters in New York City, was a body which attempted to organize the functioning of synagogues and religious schools in America under one central authority after the model of the London Board of Deputies. These by-laws discuss minute rules and regulations in relation to the the functioning of the Board, as well as set out proper conduct in the involvement of the Board within congregational matters. As befitting America, a free country where Jews did not expect to be ordered, the herem would be banned: “They shall pronounce no excommunication for any infringement of religion; but endeavour to bring the erring back by persuasion to the path of truth and justice… so as to show all Israelites… that in proposing to appoint superior teachers of our faith, the Board will take due care that no religious tyranny shall ever be exercised under its sanction & authority.” These by-laws express the Board’s aims, including such goals as the publication of Jewish books, gathering statistics about American Jews, establishing hospitals, a high school and a library. The Board was intended to be an umbrella organization that would also encompass the Reform wing of American Judaism. Isaac Leeser became the Board’s vice president. An early victory of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites was its successful lobbying in Washington to change the chaplaincy law to admit Jews as chaplains in the Union army. See Allan Tarshish, The Board of Delegates of American Israelites (1859-1878) in: Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society Vol. 49.1 (1959) pp. 16-32.