Auerbach, Isaac Levin

views updated


AUERBACH, ISAAC LEVIN (1791–1853), German preacher and pioneer of the *Reform movement. From 1815 Auerbach served as preacher in the Berlin synagogue established by Israel *Jacobson; he was co-founder of the *Verein fuer Kultur und Wissenschaft des Judentums, taught for some years at a girl's school, and for 25 years, until 1851, was preacher in Leipzig. Auerbach, as an advocate of Reform, preached in German and wrote a thesis using talmudic argumentation justifying the use of German in divine service (1818). He also published sermons on contemporary problems (1828), a call for tolerance (1833), and for Reform based on historical grounds (1845). His attitude to assimilation and religion can be discerned in his sermon on the *Damascus Affair; while not especially identifying himself with his coreligionists in the East, he defended the Jewish religion against the degradation it had suffered. His brother baruch auerbach (1793–1864) founded the Berlin Jewish Orphanage in 1833, directing it until his death.


H.G. Reissner, Eduard Gans (Ger., 1965), index; Altmann, in: ybli, 6 (1961), 4–16; Ottenheimer, in: mgwj, 78 (1934), 481–8.