Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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KALISCH, Isidor, clergyman, born in Krotoschin, Posen, Prussia, 15 November, 1816; died in Newark, New Jersey, 11 May, 1886. He was educated at the universities of Berlin, Breslau, and Prague, and while pursuing his studies in theology and philosophy contributed to German periodicals. In 1842 he wrote a patriotic poem, entitled "Schlacht-Gesang der Deutschen," which was set to music and became one of the popular songs of the day. In 1843 he preached the first German set, non ever delivered in his native town. He came to the United States in 1849, and in 1850 was called to the Tifireth Israel congregation in Cleveland, Ohio, where he labored in the interest of reformed Judaism. In 1855 the first conference of rabbis was held in Cleveland, and a ritual and common prayer book was agreed upon, entitled "Minhag America," which he edited and which is now in use in many synagogues. In 1855 he was requested by Professor Josiah W. Gibbs, of Yale, to decipher a Phoenician inscription that had been found in Sidon, Asia, his rendering of which was read before the Syro-Egyptian society of London, 13 November, 1855. In 1856-'9 he had charge of a congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he united the two factions of Israelites, and organized Die treue Schwestern, a benevolent society of Jewish ladies. He then held charges in Indianapolis, Detroit, Leavenworth, Kansas, Newark, New Jersey, and Nashville, Tennessee, where he erected a synagogue. He returned to Newark, New Jersey, in 1875, anddevoted himself to literary work and to lecturing, taking part in polemical discussions in behalf of the ultra-reform element in Judaism. His controversies with Reverend Isaac Leeser, arising from Dr. Kalisch's criticism of Leeser's English version of the Bible, and on the "Jewish Belief in a Personal Messiah," have become famous in the history of Jewish literature. From 1853 till 1878 he edited the "Guide," and contributed a great number of essays and discourses to German and English religious periodicals. He was the author of poetry in Hebrew and German, including "Tene des Morgen-Landes," "Die letzten Lebensmomente Moses," "Die mystische Harfe," "Der Teufelstein," and "Gesicht der Seele," and several hymns which are contained in the "Reformed Hebrew Prayer Book." In addition to lectures, miscellaneous works, and translations, he published "Wegweiser fth rationelle Forsehungen in den biblischen Schriften" (1853; English translation by Dr. Mayer, of Charleston, South Carolina, 1857); and English translations of Lessing's "Nathan der Weise" (New York, 1869); of "Sepher Yezirah, a Book on Creation, or the Jewish Metaphysics of Remote Antiquity," with notes and glossary, together with a "Sketch of the Talmud" (1877); of the Hebrew autobiography of Rabbi Jom Tow, or Lipman Heller (in the "Jewish Record," Philadelphia, 1878); of Professor Munk's celebrated "History of the Philosophy and Philosophical Authors of the Jews," from the French (1881); and of the "HaTapnaeh," an imitation of Plato's "Phaedor," ascribed to Aristotle the Stagyrite, from the Hebrew (New York, 1885). His contributions to Talmudical lexicography were published in the "London Jewish Chronicle" (1867); and in the "Literatur Blatt" (Magdeburg, Germany, 1880). See "Der deutsche Pioneer" (Cincinnati, 1873).
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