Adler, Liebman

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ADLER, LIEBMAN (1812–1892), U.S. rabbi. Born in the town of Lengsfeld in the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, Adler received his education at the Jewish high school in Frankfurt and later trained at the teachers' seminary in Weimar. He taught at the synagogue school in Lengsfeld until 1854, immigrating to America in his early forties. Adler served as rabbi at Temple Bethel in Detroit before assuming the pulpit of Kehillath Anshe Maarabh in Chicago in 1861. His arrival coincided with a period of dissension within the German congregation over the introduction of liturgical reforms. A self-styled "orthodox reformer," Adler proved to be a perfect fit for the divided congregation, able to act as a mediator between the younger reform-minded generation and older traditionalist immigrants. Under his stewardship, the synagogue gradually adopted reformist innovations. Adler served the congregation for over 20 years, earning the adoration of its membership. He delivered sermons in German until 1872, when the congregation hired a minister able to preach in English. During the Civil War, he spoke out forcefully against slavery. Adler was a regular contributor to the German-language Jewish press in America. He also published three volumes of sermons in German. The Jewish Publication Society printed a collection of his sermons in translation in 1893.


L. Adler, Sabbath Hours (1893); ccar Year-book (1912), 293–95; M. Gutstein, A Priceless Heritage: The Epic Growth of Nineteenth Century Chicago Jewry (1953), 101–4; B. Felsenthal and H. Eliassof, History of Kehillath Anshe Maarabh (1897), 40–45; J. Sarna, jps: The Americanization of Jewish Culture, 1888–1988 (1989), 43.

[Adam Mendelsohn (2nd ed.)]