Edited by Samuel S. Cohon
The religious world knows Dr. Kaufmann Kohler as the erudite author of the most comprehensive pioneer work on “Jewish Theology” (1918), of the volumes “Heaven and Hell in Comparative Religion” (1923) and of the hundreds of articles and essays in the Jewish Encyclopedia and various other learned publications. These writings show his marked critical judgment and scientific objectivity. This is but one profile of the great master. The other is disclosed in his homiletical expressions, which in part comes to light in his “Hebrew Union College and Other Addresses” (1916) and in his “Studies, Addresses and Personal Papers” (1931). The scientific theologian was also a preacher of exceptional powers, one of the greatest in the Reform Jewish pulpit in America.
The present volume consists of sermons and addresses selected from the literary remains of Dr. Kohler. Most were delivered from his own pulpit at Temple Beth-El in New York City, and a number of them as guest preacher at Adat Israel of Louisville, Kentucky, Wise Temple of Cincinnati, Rodef Shalom of Pittsburgh, and others. The Hebrew Union College addresses were delivered by Dr. Kohler in his capacity as president of that institution during opening and ordination exercises. His personal sermons and addresses are richly autobiographical. The memorial addresses and tributes contain valuable material on the history of modern Judaism. At the same time they show the breadth of Dr. Kohler’s sympathies. The uncompromising champion of Reform appears as a lover of genuine orthodoxy. A life long opponent of political Zionism, he applauds the return of Jews to agricultural pursuits in Palestine.