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Stein, Leopold

Leopold Stein was a rabbi in Frankfurt from 1844 to 1862. He took office in inauspicious circumstances, since he was appointed against the will of the aged incumbent chief rabbi, Salomon Abraham Trier. Stein was regarded as the most moderate representative of the Jewish Reform Movement, and was appointed by the Council to restore equilibrium to the religious tensions within the community. He nevertheless failed to win the support of the community.
His term of office was characterised from beginning to end by bitter conflict with the community leadership, which restricted his activities to religious issues within the synagogue and took away all right of consultation on matters of religious education, especially in relation to the Philanthropin, founded in 1804. Stein sought in vain to be appointed chief rabbi by the leadership; all his life he held only the title of deputy rabbi.
His period of office saw the schism within the Jewish community and the founding of an independent group, the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft ("Religious Society of Israelites").
Stein was the prime mover in the construction of the central synagogue (which replaced the two old synagogues) in the former Judengasse. At its dedication in March 1860, Stein delivered a speech which led to an open row with the community leadership and to a final break with the community. Discouraged, Stein resigned from office two years later.




© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources