‘back to the Temple’ Milwaukee Movement
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‘back to the Temple’ Milwaukee Movement

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A unique “back to the temple” movement has been launched by Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Milwaukee’s outstanding liberal synagogue, with the cooperation of major Jewish organizations of the city.

Under this program, nationally known Jewish liberals in religion, ethics and culture will appear at Friday evening services. New prayers are to be introduced. The liturgy is to be enriched with a greater selection of beautiful religious music.

And above all, the temple will become the inspirational center of the city’s leading Jewish bodies — the B’nai B’rith, the Hadassah, the Council of Jewish Women, the Aleph Zadek Aleph, and other groups.

Anniversaries and other unusually significant programs of these organizations, instead of being secular affairs in halls, will hereafter be combined with the Friday evening services at Temple Emanu-El.

These rites will thus become the spiritual climax of the normally non-religious activities of the Jewish organizations, it was explained by Rabbis Samuel Hirshberg and Joseph L. Baron of the temple.

One such program has already been held, at which the service was fused with the 90th anniversary observance of the B’nai B’rith, and at which Sigmund Livingston, Chicago, head of the Anti-Defamation league, gave the sermon-address. The attendance as a result was far greater than the usual meager participation in the Sabbath services.

The program is also to be marked by the appearance of visiting cantors who will lead a novel musical liturgy, it was announced by Dr. Baron who is directing the new features.

The stress of the services hereafter will be less on theology and more on social and spiritual ideals, Dr. Baron said, and the bond between the temple and secular Jewish groups will be strengthened.

Financing of this new undertaking was made possible, despite a highly restricted depression budget for the temple, by sacrifices on the part of the brotherhood, sisterhood, junior congregation and Hillel club of the temple.

Each of these pledged sufficient contributions to defray the cost of the program, estimated at $1,500, for the period from Rosh Hashonah to Shabuoth. Attendance, hospitality and other committees are also at work to stimulate interest in the temple.

Founding Funders

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  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund