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(JUDAICA.) Leeser, Isaac. Discourses on the Jewish Religion. 10 volumes. 12mo, modern full morocco; a few early pencil notations, minimal wear; inked library stamp on verso of Volume II title page, later owner's inked stamp on Volume IV title page. Philadelphia, 5627-8 [1866-68]
Isaac Leeser (1806-1868) was an influential Orthodox rabbi who began delivering English-language sermons at the Congregation Mikveh Israel in 1830. He published two volumes of these sermons in 1837--the first anthology of sermons by an American Jew--and another in 1841. This 1867 collection, published shortly before his death from cancer, includes 7 volumes of additional sermons, lectures, and prayers. A few touch upon secular concerns, such as Leeser's 1867 dedication address for the Jewish Hospital Association of Philadelphia (X:159-173) and an 1841 address in honor of the late President William Henry Harrison (IV:30-45). "Mr. Lincoln's Death" was delivered at the synagogue Beth-el-Emeth on the day after the president's assassination in 1865 (X:235-242). Although the sermons are in English, a few passages are printed in Hebrew type. Leeser's new preface in Volume I leaves "these volumes as my religious legacy" and hearkens back to his early career, when he was "perhaps the only Jewish public speaker in America" (page vii). Goldman 687n; Singerman 1956.
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