The Neo-Orthodox Community in Wiesbaden

The longest-serving rabbi in Germany (58 years) was Dr. Leo Kahn (1842 – 1936). Rabbi Dr. Hildesheimer sent him to Wiesbaden in 1869 after he had completed his Talmudic studies in Berlin. There, with the assistance of Rabbi Marcus Lehmann of Mainz, publisher of the journal “Der Israelit”, he fought to withdraw from the orthodox Jewish community of Wiesbaden and establish a separate Jewish community. The successful initiative of Eduard Lasker, a member of the Reichstag, enabled Jews to withdraw from their communities without giving up their Jewish affiliation. This was the basis (Austrittsgesetz) on which Dr. Leo Kahn founded the first Neo-Orthodox “Austrittsgemeinde” in Prussia. His archive, returned from Israel to Wiesbaden, is being analysed by Prof. Dr. Andreas Lehnardt (University of Mainz) who is focusing on following aspects:

  • Establishment of German Jewish orthodoxy
  • Cooperation and relationship among the (neo-)Orthodox Communities in Germany
  • Establishing the neo-Orthodox Community in Wiesbaden and cooperation with the Reform-Liberal Community (greatly influenced by former Rabbi Abraham Geiger as well as by District Rabbi Samuel Suesskind)

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