Schindler, Solomon

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SCHINDLER, SOLOMON (1842–1915), U.S. Reform rabbi and social worker. Schindler, born in Neisser, Silesia, the son of an Orthodox rabbi, was sent to Breslau when he was 13 to train for the rabbinate. After two years he gave up his rabbinical studies, graduating from the gymnasium and eventually qualifying as a teacher. In 1868 he led a small congregation in Westphalia, but his views proved too liberal. A speech attacking Bismarck's conduct in relation to the Franco-Prussian War led to Schindler's departure from Germany, and he settled in the U.S. in 1871. At first he supported his family by peddling shoelaces, but after a short time became rabbi of the Adath Emuno Congregation, Hoboken, n.j. In 1874 Schindler was appointed rabbi of Congregation Adath Israel, Boston (Temple Israel). Until his time it had conformed to Orthodox practice, but under his leadership an organ, family pews, vernacular prayers, and eventually Sunday services were introduced. Schindler's sermons and lectures attracted wide attention in Boston. Influenced by Darwinism and Bible criticism, he adopted a radical and even assimilationist standpoint and was closely associated with Boston's advanced thinkers, particularly Minot J. Savage, a rebel against Christian Orthodoxy who eventually led the New York Community Church. From 1888 to 1894 Schindler was a member of the Boston School Board. Schindler's theological and political radicalism, and apparently his German background, proved unpalatable to his congregation, and he retired from the rabbinate in 1894, becoming superintendent first of the Federation of Jewish Charities and then of the Leopold Morse Home (1899). In a sermon entitled "Mistakes I Have Made" (1911) he withdrew from his earlier radicalism. Among Schindler's publications were Messianic Expectations and Modern Judaism (1886), and Dissolving Views in the History of Judaism (1888).


A. Mann, Growth and Achievement of Temple Israel; 18541954 (1954), 45–62; dab, 16 (1935), 433–4; A. Mann, Yankee Reformers of an Urban Age (1954), 52–72 and passim.

[Sefton D. Temkin]

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Schindler, Solomon

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