Janice Rothschild Blumberg

Prophet in a Time of Priests

Who was “Alphabet” Browne… and why is this the first time anyone has written about him? Between his arrival in the United States during post-Civil War Reconstruction and his death at the onset of the Great Depression, he grabbed headlines as a rabbi, journalist, attorney, and political activist, all in the pursuit of justice. He was widely known as an authority on the Talmud and the life of Jesus, and highly acclaimed nationally for his public lectures which one reviewer thought to be wittier than Mark Twain’s. While serving congregations in numerous cities, among them New York and Atlanta, Edward Benjamin Morris Browne published the South’s first Jewish-interest newspaper; defended an elderly immigrant wrongfully convicted for murder, delivered opening prayers in both houses of Congress, served as an honorary pall bearer for President Ulysses S. Grant, helped Benjamin Harrison win the presidency; bullied Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft to establish a Jewish chaplaincy for the United States military, was honored by Sultan Abdul Hamid of the Ottoman Empire, and discussed Europe’s “Jewish problem” with Pope Leo XIII. Why, then, did his name disappear from view? Was he victim or visionary, heretic or hero? Armed with a personal interest and unrelenting curiosity, Janice Rothschild Blumberg has meticulously researched, carefully documented and deftly articulated the life of this controversial American rabbi.
532 printed pages
Original publication


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