FELSENTHAL, BERNHARD (1822–1908), U.S. Reform rabbi. Felsenthal was born in Munchweile, Germany. He intended to enter the Bavarian civil service, but seeing no prospect of being admitted, he attended a teachers' seminary at *Kaiserslautern and taught in Jewish schools before settling in the U.S. in 1854. There Felsenthal served a congregation in Madison, Indiana, as officiant and teacher; then in 1858 he moved to Chicago as clerk in a banking house, while also devoting himself to rabbinical and theological study. Deeply influenced by David *Einhorn, Felsenthal became one of the first protagonists of Reform Judaism in the Midwest. He was a strong opponent of slavery and refused to accept a pulpit in Mobile, Alabama. He was a founder and secretary of the Chicago Juedisches Reformverein. A statement of Reform views which he published in 1859, Kol Kore ba-Midbar: Ueber Juedische Reform, attracted some attention, and when the Reformverein developed into the Sinai Congregation, he became its first rabbi (1861). He was ordained by Einhorn and Samuel Adler. In 1864 Felsenthal became rabbi of the newly formed Zion Congregation, which he headed until his retirement in 1887. Felsenthal was a constant student and, though he wrote no books, wielded a ready pen. When questions on ritual came to him, he generally took an advanced Reform view. In several instances he dissented from the proposals of Isaac M. *Wise. Thus, he strongly opposed the establishment of a rabbinical seminary, believing that conditions in America did not provide a satisfactory foundation. On the other hand, he advocated Jewish day schools. In 1879 he declined a professorship at Hebrew Union College. In later years Felsenthal became concerned with the threat to the Jews in America posed by religious indifference, and feeling that the course taken by Reform was preparing a "beautiful death" for Judaism, became an enthusiastic supporter of the Zionist movement. Felsenthal was a founder of the Jewish Publication Society of America and of the American Jewish Historical Society.
E. Felsenthal (ed.), Bernhard Felsenthal, Teacher in Israel (1924), includes extracts from his writings and bibliography; Stolz, in: ccary, 18 (1908), 161; idem, in: ajhsp, 17 (1909), 218–22. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (1941) 4: 273–274. add. bibliography: K. Olitzky, L. Sussman, and M.H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1993).
[Sefton D. Temkin]
"Felsenthal, Bernhard." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/felsenthal-bernhard
"Felsenthal, Bernhard." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved May 24, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/felsenthal-bernhard
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.