Hess, Mendel

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HESS, MENDEL (1807–1871), German rabbi. Born at Lengsfeld (Stadtlengsfeld), Saxe-Weimar, he was one of the first German rabbis to have a university education. In 1827 he was appointed chief rabbi of the grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar, residing first at Lengsfeld and thereafter, until his death, at Eisenach. Hess was an advocate of radical *Reform, carrying out, despite opposition from the Jews, a government decree of June 20, 1823, which required all services in synagogue to be conducted in German. In addition, he officiated at marriages between Jews and Christians. From 1839 to 1848 he edited (with S. *Holdheim in the last year) Der Israelit des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, a weekly which publicized his views. He published an order of worship for the Jews of Saxe-Weimar (Eisenach, 1833), and collections of sermons and addresses (1839–48, 1871).


azdj, 1 (1837), 25–27; jzwl, 10 (1872), 204–7; D. Philipson, Reform Movement in Judaism (19312), index.

[Joseph Elijah Heller]