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KALISCH, ISIDOR

KALISCH, ISIDOR (15 Nov. 1816-11 May 1886), the first rabbi serving the Cleveland Jewish community, was born in Krotoschin, the Duchy of Posen. He was the son of Burnham and Sarah Tobias Kalisch. He studied in the yeshivot of Posen and attended universities in Berlin, Breslau, and Prague before becoming a journalist and taking an active part in the Revolution of 1848 in Germany, after which he was forced to immigrated to the U.S. in 1849. Kalisch entered the rabbinate and assumed a post at Cleveland's ANSHE CHESED Congregation early in 1850. Probably too liberal for the then-Orthodox congregation, after a few months the congregation dismissed him. Kalisch and 20 supporters established a new congregation, Tifereth Israel (see The TEMPLE), on 26 May 1850, with Kalisch as rabbi, chazan, preacher, and teacher.

Kalisch was a representatives to the CLEVELAND ASSEMBLY in 1855, the first general conference of Jewish religious leaders ever held in America, and was appointed with Rabbis Isaac Mayer Wise and Wolf Rothenheim to prepare a new Jewish prayerbook. In 1857, they issued Minhag America, the most popular prayerbook of moderate Reform congregations in the 1860s and 1870s. On 4 Jan. 1856, Kalisch dedicated Tifereth Israel's newly erected Huron St. Synagogue, but because the congregation could not afford both to maintain the building and pay a rabbi, Kalisch was relieved of his duties. After leaving Cleveland, Kalisch served congregations throughout the U.S. In 1875, he settled in Newark and returned to writing, dying there in 1886. Kalisch married twice. His first wife, Charlotte Bankman, whom he married in 1843, died in 1856; he then married his second wife, Adelaide. Kalisch had 6 children: Albert, Leonard, Samuel, Abner, Burnham, and Hannah.


Kalisch, Samuel. "Rabbi Isidor Kalisch, a Memoir," in Studies in Ancient and Modern Judaism ... Selected Writings of Rabbi Isidor Kalisch (1928).