Wartime sermons reveal how Jews perceive themselves in relation to the majority society and how Jewish and national values are reconciled when the fate of a nation is at stake. They also illustrate how rabbis guide their communities through the challenges of their times. The sermons reproduced here were delivered by American and British rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum-Orthodox to Liberal, Ashkenazi and Sephardi-from the Napoleonic Wars to the attacks of 9/11. Each sermon is prefaced by a comprehensive introduction explaining the context in which it was delivered. Detailed notes explain allusions unfamiliar to a present-day readership and draw comparisons where appropriate to similar passages in contemporary newspapers and other sermons. A general introduction surveys more broadly the distinctive elements of modern Jewish preaching-the new preaching occasions bound up with the history of the countries in which Jews were living; new modes for the dissemination of the sermons (printed pamphlets and the Jewish and general press), and the emergence of women's voices from the pulpit. It also surveys the distinctive themes of modern Jewish sermons, including responses to Jewish suffering, social justice, eulogies for national leaders, Zionism, and war. What Jewish religious leaders said to their congregations when their countries went to war (or, in some cases, were considering going to war) raises questions of central significance for both modern Jewish history and religious thinking in the civic context. What evidence do these sermons present concerning the degree of patriotism felt by Jews? Where and when do we find examples of dissent from the policies taken by their governments, or explicit criticism? What theological problems are raised by the preachers in the context of unprecedented and unimagined destruction, and how do they respond to these problems? How is the enemy presented in these texts? How is the problem of Jews fighting and killing other Jews addressed? Are the preachers functioning to articulate traditions that challenge the consensus of the moment, or as instruments of social control serving the needs of governments looking for unquestioning support from their citizenry? In all these areas, this book makes an important contribution to the American- and Anglo-Jewish history of this period while also making available a collection of mostly unknown Jewish texts produced at dramatic moments of the past two centuries.
Note on Editorial PracticeNote on Transliteration Introduction: Modern Jewish Preaching Part I The Wars of the Napoleonic Era1 Isaac Luria, 'A Penitential Sermon', 19 October 1803, London2 Solomon Hirschel, Sermon of Thanksgiving 'for the Success of His Majesty's Fleet. . . off Trafalgar', 5 December 1805, London3 Gershom Mendes Seixas, 'Fast Day Sermon', 2 February 1814, New York Part II The Wars of the Mid-Nineteenth Century4 David Woolf Marks, 'God Protects our Fatherland', 7 October 1857, London5 M. J. Michelbacher, 'A Sermon Delivered on the Day of Prayer', 27 March 1863, Richmond, Virginia6 Sabato Morais, 'Sermon for the National Fast-Day', 30 April 1863, Philadelphia7 Samuel Myer Isaacs, 'Fast-Day Sermon', 30 April 1863, New York8 David Einhorn, Two Civil War Sermons: a. 'Sermon Delivered on Thanksgiving Day', 26 November 1863, Philadelphia b. 'War with Amalek!', 19 March 1864, Philadelphia9 Isaac Mayer Wise, 'The Fall of the Second French Empire', 9 September 1870, Cincinnati10 Benjamin Artom, 'The War', 17 September 1870, London11 Sabato Morais, 'Thanksgiving Day Sermon', 24 November 1870, Philadelphia Part III The Wars of the Late-Nineteenth Century12 H. Pereira Mendes, 'The Plague of Inconsistency' (selections), 23 April 1898, New York13 Joseph Krauskopf, 'A Time of War, and a Time of Peace', 1 May 1898, Philadelphia14 Hermann Adler, 'Judaism and War', 4 November 1899, London Part IV The First World War15 George (Gedaliah) Silverstone, 'On the Terrible War of 5675', 25 October 1914, Washington, DC16 Morris Joseph, 'Christmas and War', 25 December 1915, London17 Joseph H. Hertz, 'Through Darkness and Death unto Light', 1 January 1916, London18 J. Leonard Levy, 'A Time for War, and a Time for Peace', 8 April 1917, Pittsburgh19 Stephen S. Wise, 'Can We Win the War without Losing America?', 20 May 1917, New York20 Hermann Gollancz, 'Nationalism within Bounds', 7 September 1918, London21 Leo M. Franklin, 'The Lure of Peace', 13 October 1918, Detroit Part V The Second World War22 Abraham H. Feinberg, 'America's Hour of Decision', 19 September 1939, Rockford, Illinois23 Jacob Philip Rudin, 'God in the Blackout', 2 October 1940, Great Neck, New York24 Eliezer Berkovits, Two Second World War Sermons: a. 'On a Strategy of Faith',  May 1941, Leeds b. 'Triumph of the Spirit', 7 September 1941, Leeds25 Maurice N. Eisendrath, 'Blackout: How Long, O Lord, How Long?' 21 September 1941, Toronto26 Israel H. Levinthal, 'Is It Death or Rebirth of the World that We Behold?' 22 September 1941, New York27 Ferdinand M. Isserman, 'The United States Is at War', 12 December 1941, St Louis28 Joseph H. Hertz, 'Civilian Morale', 2 April 1942, London29 Walter Wurzburger, 'The Individual in the Crisis', 9 October 1943, Brighton, Massachusetts30 Roland B. Gittelsohn, 'The Birth of a New Freedom', 14 March 1945, Iwo Jima Part VI Wars of the Later Twentieth Century31 Roland B. Gittelsohn, Two Vietnam War Sermons: a. 'Will There Be a Tomorrow?', 26 September 1965, Boston b. 'Answer to an Anonymous Letter', 26 November 1965, Boston32 Colin Eimer, 'The Falklands Crisis', 14 May 1982, Enfield, London33 Immanuel Jakobovits, 'The Morality of Warfare', 25 May 1982, London Part VII Responses to 9/1134 Three Sermons: a. Elias Lieberman, 'A Sermon', 14 September 2001, Cape Cod, Massachusetts b. Alexandra Wright, 'New York: 11 September 2001', 18 September 2001, Radlett and Bushey, Hertfordshire c. Barry Freundel, 'Twin Towers of Smoke', 15 September 2001, Washington, DC BibliographySource AcknowledgementsIndex of Passages CitedGeneral Index