Witness from the Pulpit

Witness from the Pulpit : Topical Sermons, 1933-1980

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Harold I. Saperstein served as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El of Lynbrook, N.Y., from 1933 until his retirement in 1980. The specific contours of his career reflect a sustained effort to use the pulpit of this suburban temple to communicate a Jewish perspective based on personal encounters with great issues of the day-including the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust, the civil rights era, the McCarthy era, and other turning points in American history. The fifty-two sermons in this book have been selected, introduced, and annotated by Marc Saperstein, whose award-winning books on the history of Jewish preaching have established him as a leading expert on this subject. No other book illustrates as effectively the value of the sermon as a resource for understanding the challenges faced by American Jews at some of the most dramatic moments in the turbulent history of this century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 148 x 224 x 22mm | 498.95g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 0739102591
  • 9780739102596

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Nazi Nationalism, 1933 Chapter 2 Are We Civilized?, 1933 Chapter 3 The Call to Battle, 1934 Chapter 4 The Great Olympic Idea, 1935 Chapter 5 Must There Be War?, 1936 Chapter 6 Can Jews Afford to Be Pacifists. 1937 Chapter 7 Return to Thy People, 1938 Chapter 8 Unconquered, 1939 Chapter 9 The World We Make (Introduction), 1940; Sufferance Is the Badge, 1940 Chapter 10 Undying Fires, 1941 Chapter 11 The Mount of Sacrifice, 1942 Chapter 12 What Have We Jews to Be Thankful For?, 1942 Chapter 13 Farewell, 1943 Chapter 14 The Call of the Shofar, 1944 Chapter 15 The Voice of Joy and Gladness, 1945 Chapter 16 A Jewish Veteran Returns, 1946 Chapter 17 Passover-For Our Day, 1946 Chapter 18 The Resistance Movement in Palestine, 1946 Chapter 19 Thieves in the Night, 1947 Chapter 20 Israel and Us, 1948 Chapter 21 A Prince in Israel, 1949 Chapter 22 Outside the Law, 1949 Chapter 23 Chains of the Messiah, 1950 Chapter 24 Birth of a Nation, 1951 Chapter 25 "I Lift My Lamp," 1952 Chapter 26 The Fruits of Sacrifice, 1953 Chapter 27 Promise and Fulfillment, 1954 Chapter 28 How Leadership Fails, 1957 Chapter 29 Message from the Movies, 1958 Chapter 30 Jewish Life Behind the Iron Curtain, 1959 Chapter 31 Moral Issues of the Eichmann Case, 1961 Chapter 32 New Frontiers in Catholic-Jewish Relationships, 1962 Chapter 33 The American Dream, In Color, 1963 Chapter 34 Martyr for the American Dream, 1963 Chapter 35 "The Deputy"-Where Does the Guilt Lie, 1964 Chapter 36 The War on Poverty, 1965 Chapter 37 On the Freedom Trail in Alabama, 1965 Chapter 38 The Dilemma of Vietnam, 1966 Chapter 39 A Great Miracle Happened There, 1967 Chapter 40 An American Tragedy, 1968 Chapter 41 Portnoy's Complaint, And Mine, 1969 Chapter 42 The Ordeal of Soviet Jewry, 1970 Chapter 43 Dissent-Jewish Style, 1971 Chapter 44 Keepers of the Keys, 1972 Chapter 45 The War of the Day of Judgment, 1973 Chapter 46 Slaughter of the Innocent, 1974 Chapter 47 How My Mind Has Changed, 1975 Chapter 48 The Dream Shattered, 1975 Chapter 49 The Harvest of '77, 1977 Chapter 50 Jonestown and Masada, 1978 Chapter 51 Farewell to the "Me Decade," 1980 Chapter 52 Days I Remember, 1973
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Review quote

This selection from a lifetime of sermons is a treasure. We see a half-century of American Jewish history though the eyes of a learned rabbi who fought for justice and decency all his life. Rabbi Saperstein evoked for me the actions and the passions of all those days, and my admiration for him rose sermon by sermon. -- Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Professor of Religion Emeritus, Dartmouth College, and Past President of the American Jewish Congress Rabbi Harold I. Saperstein was a student of Stephen S. Wise. It is no wonder, then, that his preaching was a judgment on his time, reflecting the cadences and power of the biblical prophets. . . . This remarkable book is evidence of a burning fire in the marrow of the preacher's bones. It also points to the need for the prophetic voice, speaking with clarity and force about the ongoing issues of our own day. -- Rabbi Jerome Malino, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis This is a gem of a book, important reading for anyone interested in the inner life of American Jewry in the middle of the twentieth century. . . . What is remarkable in these sermons is that they not only read well, they remain interesting for their texture and nuance even decades after they were presented. -- Jacob Neusner, University of South Florida and Bard College Reading these sermons now helps us to relive what was perhaps the most challenging era of Jewish history in millennia. We are indebted to Harold Saperstein for having appreciated the historic character of our generation and for having carefully preserved his homiletical output as a legacy to our posterity for generations to come. -- Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, Bar-Ilan University
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About Harold I. Saperstein

Harold I. Saperstein is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanu-El of Lynbrook, N.Y., where he served for 47 years. Marc Saperstein is the Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish History and Director of the Program in Judaic Studies at George Washington University. He is the author of four books, including Jewish Preaching 1200-1800 (1989) and Your Voice Like a Ram's Horn (1996), both winners of the National Jewish Book Award.
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