VEREINIGUNG FUER DAS LIBERALE JUDENTUM IN DEUTSCHLAND (Ger. "Union for Liberal Judaism in Germany"), organization that was founded in 1908 by Bernhard Breslauer (1851–1928), who became its first chairman. The union included the Reform communities of the major cities, rabbis of the Vereinigung der liberalen Rabbiner Deutschlands ("Union of Liberal Rabbis in Germany"), founded in 1899 by Rabbi H. vogelstein , as well as private persons. Vogelstein was also one of the founders of the Union for Liberal Judaism; however, the lay element was traditionally predominant in the governing bodies of the organization. Its guiding spirit was caesar seligmann , editor of the Union's periodical, Liberales Judentum (1908–22). It had 6,000 members in its first year but the number increased to only 10,000 by 1933. It ceased to exist in the Nazi period. After the Union published its program (Richtlinien zu einem Programm fuer das liberale Judentum), signed by 60 rabbis, it was attacked in Orthodox circles. The Union did not champion radical reforms; its ideas had been prevalent in Germany for decades and had already found wide expression and acceptance. It emphasized the universal and humanitarian mission of Judaism in the Diaspora, and took up a strong anti-Zionist stand, particularly through its affiliated youth movement. It combated the increasing strength of the Zionists in the communal organizations after World War I by means of the Jeudisch-liberale Zeitung. It affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism at the congress held in London in 1926. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Breslauer, in: BLBI, 9 (1966) 302–29.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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