EISENSTEIN, IRA (1906–2001), U.S. rabbi and leader of the reconstructionist movement. Born in New York City, Eisenstein grew up in Harlem along with his friend milton steinberg . Eisenstein was a grandson of judah david eisenstein , a traditional scholar who compiled the anthology Oẓer Dinim u-Minhagim. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1931. He later served as president of the rabbinical assembly from 1952 to 1954. As a son-in-law and leading disciple of Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Eisenstein was associate rabbi from 1931 to 1954 of Kaplan's Society for the Advancement of Judaism in New York City, the first Reconstructionist synagogue. Eisenstein was the associate chairman and later the editor of The Reconstructionist from 1935 to 1982, which in the 1930s and 1940s was the premier intellectual journal of the American Jewish community and which he was instrumental in creating. In 1954, the invitation was extended for Eisenstein to become the rabbi of Anshe Emet congregation in Chicago. The relationship with Anshe Emet did not endure, and in 1959 he returned to New York to become the president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, which he had founded. The foundation continued to publish the magazine, coordinated annual conventions of Reconstructionists, expanded the Reconstructionist Press, and began to issue a series of pamphlets on Reconstructionist ideas. One of these, titled "The Havurah Idea," was the first published program for what would in the 1960s and 1970s become a new and vital form of Jewish community. While mordecai kaplan , who was deeply rooted in the Jewish Theological Seminary, was reluctant to see reconstructionism become a separate denomination, Eisenstein advocated for the creation of institutions that could embody Reconstructionist ideas. He founded the Fellowship of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot in 1955. Following Kaplan's retirement from JTS in 1963, Eisenstein rallied Reconstructionist lay leaders in support of establishing a seminary for the training of Reconstructionist rabbis, and in 1968 he became the founding president of the reconstructionist rabbinical college (RRC) in Philadelphia, from which he retired in 1981. In fulfillment of Kaplan's concept that American Jews "lived in two civilizations" Eisenstein's vision of rabbinic training mandated that RRC students simultaneously pursue a Ph.D. in religious studies at nearby Temple University where they would interact with faculty and students of many different religious traditions. Eisenstein was coeditor of the controversial New Haggadah (1941), which eliminated the ten plagues as "unedifying" and celebrated Moses, rather than God, as the one who had "liberated Israel." With Kaplan, Steinberg, and Eugene Kohn, Eisenstein helped edit the original Reconstructionist prayerbooks for Sabbath (1945), High Holidays (1948), and Festivals (1958). This liturgy applied Kaplan's key ideas such as eliminating the idea of Jews as the chosen people and the mention of miracles and the hope for a personal Messiah, although only Kaplan was "excommunicated" by a small sect of Orthodox rabbis upon the publication of the Sabbath Prayerbook. Recognizing that Kaplan's major books were often seen as overly long and complex for the average reader, Eisenstein helped to popularize Kaplan's work in Creative Judaism (1936) and What We Mean by Religion (1938). He also wrote Judaism under Freedom (1956) and Reconstructing Judaism (1986) and co-edited Mordecai M. Kaplan: An Evaluation (1952). With his wife, the musicologist Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, he co-authored a number of cantatas based on Jewish themes. (Jack Reimer / Richard Hirsh (2nd ed)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eisenstein, Ira — (1906 2001)    American rabbi. He was born in New York. He led the Society for the Advancement of Judaism and subsequently served as rabbi to Anshe Emet synagogue in Chicago. Later he became president of the Reconstructionist Foundation and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Eisenstein (surname) — Eisenstein is a surname, and may refer to:Usually: * Ferdinand Eisenstein, a mathematician who formulated: ** Eisenstein s criterion ** Eisenstein integer ** Eisenstein s theorem ** Eisenstein prime ** Eisenstein ideal ** Eisenstein series *… …   Wikipedia

  • EISENSTEIN, JUDITH KAPLAN — (1909–1996), U.S. musicologist, educator, composer, and author. Born in New York   City, Eisenstein was the eldest of the four daughters of Rabbi mordecai menachem kaplan , the philosopher and founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, and Lena… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ira Eisenstein — Rabbi Ira Eisenstein (1906 June 28, 2001) founded Reconstructionist Judaism, along with Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, his teacher and, later, father in law, over a period of time spanning from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Reconstructionist Judaism… …   Wikipedia

  • SILVERMAN, IRA — (1945–1991), U.S. Jewish leader. Before his untimely death at the age of 46 from a parasite that he contracted when he visited China, Ira Silverman held some of the most important posts in American Jewish leadership. A native of Rockville Centre …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College — The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC), is located in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles (16 km) north of central Philadelphia. RRC is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism [ See “Reconstructionism: The Fourth… …   Wikipedia

  • CINÉMA - Histoire — La première projection du cinématographe Lumière a lieu le 28 décembre 1895, au Grand Café, boulevard des Capucines à Paris. Le nouvel art puisera abondamment dans le trésor dramatique aussi bien théâtral que romanesque, du XIXe siècle finissant …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • RECONSTRUCTIONISM — RECONSTRUCTIONISM, ideology and movement in U.S. religious life. Both the idea and the movement owe their inspiration to mordecai menahem kaplan (1881–1983). Raised Orthodox in Eastern Europe, Kaplan came to America at age eight. He saw his… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Mordecai Kaplan — Rabbi Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan Organisation Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Society for the Advancement of Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Per …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.