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The First Reform Temple Opens in Seesen, Germany, 1810

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: July 17th, 1810

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCv_VEhlMnm/

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Pictured here is the first reform temple that opened #onthisday in the town of Seesen, Germany.

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Reform Judaism was started with the mission of creating a modern Judaism and a bridge between Jewish life and the surrounding culture.

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It was started as a response to Enlightenment and growing conversion/assimilation. Israel Jacobson felt connected to the mission of Reform Judaism and started a secular Jewish-Christian school. The first reform temple was in the chapel of the school. Throughout the next decade, synagogues were built in Hamburg and Berlin as well. The services were different from the classic Jewish service, as women and men sat together, there was an organ, and much of the liturgy was in German and not Hebrew.

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The leaders of Reform Judaism made other drastic changes to the faith as well. They decided that circumcision was barbaric and stopped the practice of it, they declared that Germany was the new Zion and there, therefore, was no longer a need to yearn for Israel, and they changed a Bar Mitzvah to be simply a confirmation ceremony. It was also decided that the laws of Shabbat and Kashrut did not fit with modern life and, therefore, no longer had to be observed.

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In the mid-1800’s, Reform Judaism came to America and gained a following for the same reasons it did in Germany: Jews no longer wanted to be different than their Christain counterparts, they wanted to "fit in" and the best way to do that was to have a church-like service with no other restrictions on food, dress, or "outdated" customs.

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Unlike in Germany, the leaders of the Reform community in America felt a connection to the Land of Israel and although they felt it important to be in the Diaspora (so they could serve as a light unto nations) it was also important to support those living in Ottman-occupied Palestine.

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To this day, the Reform community in America is one of the largest within Jewish-Americans.

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#judaism#jewish#history#jewishhistory#onthisday#reformjudaism#established#germany#historyfans

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Image Source:

https://urj.org/who-we-are/history

Text Source:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/seesen

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