Reform Rabbinical Conference

In 1845 the Reform Rabbinical Conference at Frankfurt (Germany) attempted to determine the nature of Judaism in modern European society. Discussions at the conference provoked fierce debates about how Jewish practices and beliefs have to be changed in order to conform to modernity. The use of Hebrew as the language of Jewish prayer was one of the most hotly contested questions. Analyze the debate between Zecharias Frankel and Abraham Geiger over the issue of Hebrew (pp. 178-180 in your readings). Address the following questions:

What is the issue at stake?
What is Geiger’s approach to the use of Hebrew as the language of Jewish prayer? What is his argument?
What is Frankel’s approach to the use of Hebrew as the language of Jewish prayer? How does he respond to Geiger?
How does Frankel’s understanding of the role of Hebrew language in Jewish religious and cultural identity differ from that of Geiger?

 

 

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