Disturbed by the many different Jewish voices that insisted on being heard, Roosevelt is rumored to once have wished that the Jews had a Pope like a normal people. Had that been possible the leader most suited for the role, both by his own choice and the vote of most American Jews, would have been Rabbi Stephen Wise. In his liberalism, his love of Roosevelt and the New Deal, Wise most closely resonated the political culture of American Jewry during the years of the Holocaust.
Stephen S. Wise has been undeservedly neglected in the years since his death. Rabbi Rudin’s fair-minded biography restores this colossus to his well-deserved pedestal. In many ways, this is a one-of-a-kind biography of a one-of-a-kind rabbi.
Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University and author of American Judaism: A History