Previous Next

Download Image   View Printable Version

Rabbi Eliezer Silver (far right) visiting a class at Cincinnati Jewish Day School
Orthodox vs. Reform in Cincinnati
Rabbi Eliezer Silver (1882-1968) worked to strengthen Orthodox Judaism against the growing influence of Reform Judaism, especially in Cincinnati, the American home of Reform Judaism. He was invited to Cincinnati in 1931 to serve as a rabbi for the Orthodox Jewish community. He led the Orthodox Community Council through a number of reforms including installing a kosher kitchen at Jewish Hospital and establishing a mikveh (ritual bath) which would be close to Rockdale Temple - the largest Reform synagogue at the time. He also headed the supervision of Cincinnati kashrut (dietary restrictions). His position of leadership in many areas led to opposition among certain members of Orthodox Jewry, led mainly by Rabbi Bezalel Epstein. Silver was also known to be unsympathetic to congregations who preferred English-speaking rabbis. During the Holocaust, Silver helped lead efforts to bring Torah scholars - who as ministers and religious students were exempt from immigration quotas - out of Europe and into the United States, Canada, and Palestine. After the war, he continued his work, helping Jewish refugees worldwide escape to safer settings.