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Lesser

english and minister

LESSER, Isaac, American rabbi and journalist: b. Neuenkirchen, Prussia, 12 Dec. 1806; d. Philadelphia, 1 Feb. 1868. In his 18th year he removed to Richmond, Va., where he at first engaged in business. In 1829 he became Hazan or minister of Congregation Mikveh Israel of Philadelphia. His first work, Jews and the Mosaic Law,' appeared in 1833, followed in 1837 by his sermons in two vol umes. He edited in 1841 'Grace Aguilar's Spirit of Judaism,' and began in 1843 his monthly magazine, The Occident, which he conducted until near the end of its 25th vol ume. In 1845 he published his Pentateuch in Hebrew and English, and in 1848 his edition of the 'Daily Prayers,' according to the German ritual. Retiring from the ministry in 1850, he issued an English translation of Schwarz's clas sic 'Geography of Palestine,' and an edition of the Hebrew Bible, with Jaquett. He began

now an English translation of the Old Testa ment, completed in later years.. In 1857 he was ejected minister of the Beth El Emeth Syna gogue, but continued his literary labors, editing (Dias Letters) (1859) ; 'The Inquisition and Judaism> (1860) ; 'Mrs. Hester Rothschild's Meditations and Prayers) (1864) Grace Agui lar's 'Jewish Faith and Spirit of (1864). In addition to his work as editor, translator, author and lecturer, he gave the im petus to nearly every Jewish charity in the city, while he suggested instiwtions that have since been established, so far-sighted was his vision. He was for decades the leader of the conservative party in American Israel and was aggressive and fearless in his opposition to the reform movement, whose progress, however, he could not check.