Rabbis and 'The Great War'

Three Rosh Hashanah Sermons of 1914

in European Judaism
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This article examines in depth sermons of Rabbi Julius Jelski of the Reform Gemeinde in Berlin, Rabbi Samuel Korb of Nantes and Rabbi Israel Mattuck of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS) in London, preached on Rosh Hashanah 1914. Through consideration of the language and structure of their sermons, the extent to which the war is a motif in the sermons, their use of national literature, mottoes and ideas and their use of Biblical and rabbinic literature it develops an analysis of how the rabbis situated themselves and their communities in their countries of residence, and of their ideas on the morality of war and of this particular war. While all three rabbis appeal to Jewish texts and moral principles, the continental rabbis reach significantly different conclusions from those reached by Mattuck.