Joseph Hertz

A Chief Rabbi at War

in European Judaism
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In office, from the 'New' rather than the 'Old' World, indeed the first ordinand of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Joseph Herman Hertz moved among kings and grandees, ministering to two communities, different religiously, culturally and socially. One, an established 'West End' community, was assimilated and integrated; the other was a newer, larger, faster-growing, immigrant 'East End' community. He had to be a bridge between these two communities. Within a year of taking office, this American Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire was thrust into a world conflict that confronted him with tensions and challenges to his patriotism, his authority and his faith. Ultimately his period of office would be 'bracketed' by two world wars.