The religious policy of Hermann Adler
in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
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Hermann Adler operated in a post-Enlightenment and post-Emancipation context, in which affiliation to the Jewish community was voluntary. This chapter examines the new methods Adler had to employ to achieve his aims. He used his powers as ecclesiastical authority for the United Synagogue to impose discipline, and worked to extend and deepen his religious authority, as part of a policy of religious centralism that has come to be known as Adlerism. Michael Friedlander was a typical traditionalist Wissenschaft scholar. He was thus, like Adler, best understood as part of the scientific branch of the acknowledgement school. When the Jewish Religious Union began to hold services, which Adler regarded as unacceptable, he condemned them in a sermon entitled The old paths. This continued Nathan Adler's policy. The French rabbinate officially enjoyed significant authority but in practice was severely constrained, and therefore conceded more than Adler did in Britain.


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