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Seligmann, Caesar

Caesar Seligmann was rabbi of the Jewish community from 1903 to 1932, and was one of the leading protagonists of the Jewish Reform Movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
Seligmann was born in 1860 of an old rabbinical family in Landau in the Pfalz region. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslaw, and graduated in Halle. After preaching from 1889 to 1902 at the
"Tempel", a liberal synagogue in Hamburg, he was called to Frankfurt in 1903, where his task was to revitalise the somewhat depleted Jewish Reform Movement.
While in Frankfurt Seligmann became the leader of the religious liberal movement in Germany. He first wrote a new liberal prayerbook for the Frankfurt community, then a unified prayerbook for liberal Jewish synagogue services. He founded the periodical "Liberal Judaism" and took a major part in the unifying of liberals throughout Germany. In 1912 he published the "Guidelines" which set out to provide the foundations and future plans for a new Judaism based on spiritual liberalism. The "Guidelines" aroused vigorous dissent within the community and it proved impossible to incorporate them into daily religious life.
He retired in 1932. He managed to emigrate to England in 1939. In London he became cofounder of a community of emigré Frankfurt Jews, and died there in 1950.
His many published works include essays, sermons, and lectures, his annotated edition of the PesachHaggadah, and his principal work, the "History of the Jewish Reform Movement" printed in 1922.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources