Pillar of Fire: A Biography of Stephen S. Wise

Pillar of Fire: A Biography of Stephen S. Wise

by A. James Rudin
     
 

During his long career, Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise received letters with only two words written on the envelope: “Rabbi USA.”
            But the United States Postal Service was never in doubt about the intended recipient: there was only one “Rabbi USA.” No other rabbi before

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Overview

During his long career, Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise received letters with only two words written on the envelope: “Rabbi USA.”
            But the United States Postal Service was never in doubt about the intended recipient: there was only one “Rabbi USA.” No other rabbi before or since Wise has dominated the American and the international scene with such passion and power. Both his admirers and opponents—there was no shortage of either group—acknowledged him as the premier leader of the American Jewish community and a major political figure.
            Pillar of Fire goes behind the headlines and the once-closed archives of the White House and the State Department to reveal the complex and controversial personal relationship between Wise and President Franklin D. Roosevelt when millions of lives hung in the balance during the Holocaust. It also explores Wise’s remarkable relationships with both President Woodrow Wilson and United States Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis. Finally, the book describes how Wise’s extraordinary actions in the realm of social justice and human rights permanently influenced every clergyperson, seminary. and house of worship in America.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780896729100
Publisher:
Texas Tech University Press
Publication date:
12/15/2015
Series:
Modern Jewish History Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
596,678
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

 A. James Rudin is the American Jewish Committee's Senior Interreligious Adviser and a distinguished visiting professor of religion and Judaica at Saint Leo University. He served as a United States Air Force chaplain in Japan and Korea. Since 1991 Rabbi Rudin has written commentaries for Religion News Service and has been a frequent guest on numerous national and international radio and television programs. He lives in New York City and Sanibel, Florida.

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