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AUERBACH, ISAAC LEVIN:

A German preacher, educator, and author; born at Inowraclaw, Prussia, March 21, 1791; died at Dessau July 5, 1853. He was the son of Levin Isaac Auerbach, rabbi of Inowraclaw, and brother of Baruch Auerbach, the well-known founder of the Jewish Orphan Asylum in Berlin. Isaac belonged to that small band of Jewish young men in Berlin who, in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, paved the way for reforms in Judaism. After receiving an education in Bible and Talmud from his father and at Lissa, he went to Berlin, where he devoted himself to the study of languages and science. His attainments and abilities must have been considerable, for he was appointed preacher at the Jacobsen temple, in which also Kley, Günsburg, and Zunz delivered their German sermons. His next position was on the teaching staff of the Jewish girls' school of Berlin, and finally he was called to the temple of Leipsic, where he officiated for more than twenty-five years.

Auerbach's activities were chiefly directed toward a reform of the divine service. He considered it first an exigency of changed conditions; secondly, the most potent factor in the improvement of the whole religious and ethical life. Likewise he pointed out the necessity of establishing schools, and pleaded for a spirit of toleration in all religious and political matters. These ideas pervade his works and sermons, of which the following were published: (1) "Sind die Israeliten Verpflichtet Ihre Gebete Durchaus in Hebräischer Sprache zu Verrichten?" Berlin, 1818—arguing on rabbinical grounds for the introduction of the German language into the service; (2) "Die Wichtigsten Angelegenheiten Israels," Leipsic, 1828—containing nine sermons; (3) "Die Aufnahme Israels in die Grosse Gemeinschaft der Nationen," Leipsic, 1833; (4) "Israels Jüngste Heimsuchung," Leipsic, 1840—on the Damascus affair; (5) "Das Verständniss der Zeit," Leipsic, 1845—on the reform tendencies in Judaism.

Bibliography:
  • Kayserling, Bibliothek Jüdischer Kanzelredner, i. 19-20.
S. M. B.
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