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Visions of Reform : Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco 1849-1999 Hardcover – February 15, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Review

How refreshing to see a synagogue history that tells the story as it was, warts and all. -- Professor Jonathan Sarna, Chairman of the department of Near

The book...is being seen as a sign of a new spirit of candor in American Judaism... -- E.J. Kessler, The Forward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Fred Rosenbaum is the founding director of Lehrhaus Judaica, the largest school for adult Jewish education in Northern California, and has taught at the University of San Francisco, the Graduate Theological Union, and San Francisco State University. He is the author of several books, including the widely acclaimed Architects of Reform, and numerous articles on Bay Area Jewish history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 534 pages
  • Publisher: Judah L. Magnes Museum; First Edition edition (February 15, 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0943376688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943376684
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,026,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary McGreevey on August 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a tour guide and San Francisco history buff , I can highly recommend this well-researched book by Fred rosenbaum. A great many movers and shakers in our city were and still are German Jews. They comprised about half of the German immigration a t the time of the Gold Rush. They came for opportunity in wholesale and retail such as Loeb Strauss from Bavaria, better known as Levi.

To read this detailed book is to see California history from a Jewish and also business perspective but also to learn why these European Jews wanted to break away for old world traditions. Read about Diane Feinstein our mayor and now senator, whose villa sat right behind the majestic synagogue. I believed she has sold it now.

Fred rosenbaum writes in an engaging style, definitely a storyteller. I knew him as a professor at university of San Francisco inthe late 1980's. he taught the holocaust class which fulfilled the religion requirement for freshman students. Most were Gentiles especially Catholics He was known as the guy who could get you an easy A. Then you could concentrate on your real subjects.

I enjoyed locking horns with this short and arrogant man. He gave university students a textbook written for junior high kids. Lots of photos and easy skim reading meant no in-depth analysis of the situation in Europe and specifically a desperate Germany. He made fun of Germans and their fear of losing their livelihoods as cuckoo lock makers, since automatic assembly lines were replacing small independent family businesses and craftsmen. The class laughed right along gleefully.

Rosenbaum did not take criticism lightly. I raised my hand to offer a more modern-day example of job displacement. Professors, I said, cost colleges a lot of money in salaries and benefits.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Katz on July 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I went to the synagogue, Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, for a visit, just to see the place. It's famous. It's like, the Beginning of reform Judaism in the US, maybe the world. (I didn't actually know that until I read this book, Visions of Reform; but that's getting ahead here.) They take you on a big tour of the synagogue, no charge. And at the end, they hand you a copy of Visions of Reform.

I read the book and I could not believe the synagogue would hand out a copy of this book to people who stop by and look like they might want maybe to join. See, this book is SCANDALOUS! It goes on and on about the story of the synagogue, which is interesting enough, if you're Jewish anyway; and then, BOOM! A woman comes walking down the aisle at Friday night Shabbos services and says, right there in the middle of services, with Rabbi Kirschner pontificatin' up there on the ol' pulpit, that she was screwed by the Rabbi! Yes, that man there! Our Rabbi! Rabbi Bob is an adulterer, and he takes advantage of women who came to him for counseling, or for advice, or even thinking of joining. Oy!

This was no joke. This was a real problem. There were LOTS of these women victims, and they were all over the San Francisco newspapers.

And all of that is in this book.

I assumed that the book was given to me by mistake, ie, the first edition of this book was twenty years before, and now this second edition had been updated, but the people who handle the tours of the building hadn't been told to stop handing out the book, which now contained lurid tales of fornication IN THE RABBI'S OFFICE!
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