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Orthodox Judaism: Adass Jeshurun, Adass Jisroel

Adass Jeshurun, Adas Jisroal was originally the breakaway minority of Orthodox congregations in Germany in the mid-19th century. These congregations dissociated themselves on religious grounds from the unitary congregations established by state law in which the majority tended toward Reform Judaism.

The main aim of this branch was to safeguard strict adherence to Jewish law. The Hebrew terms Adass (or Adat, Adath) Jeshurun and Adass Jisroel, meaning "congregation of Jeshurun" and "congregation of Israel," were chosen by these congregations to express their conviction that, even if in the minority, they were the "true Israel." The names were cherished for their socioreligious connotations by Orthodox groups in the West where Reform Judaism was widespread.

The Israelitische Religion-sgesellschaft of Frankfurt on the Main, with Samson Raphael Hirsch as rabbi, called itself Adass Jeshurun from 1851, as did a similar community in Cologne from 1867. The congregation founded in Berlin in 1869, the first rabbi of which was Azriel Hildesheimer , and one in Koenigsberg in 1913, chose the name Adass Jisroel. The Berlin Adass Jisroel established its own educational network. Between 1890 and 1903 there was an Adass Jeshurun congregation in Belfast, composed of immigrants from Russia. In England, the strictly Orthodox congregation which grew out of the north London bet ha-midrash (1909) was called Adath Yisroel.

After 1933, immigrants from Germany, loyal to the concept of Adass Jisroel, formed a congregation in northwest London; Manchester has both an Adass Jeshurun and an Adass Jisroel synagogue. Such communities have also been formed in various places in the United States, the best-known in Washington Heights, New York City. Others exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Israel. The names have also been used by other groups, e.g., by the Reform Adass Jeshurun in Amsterdam in 1796. The synagogue of an Adas Israel congregation in Louisville, Ky., was consecrated in 1849.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

H. Schwab, History of Orthodox Jewry in Germany (1950); A. Carlebach, Adath Yeshurun of Cologne (1964); M. Sinasohn, Adass Yisroel Berlin (1966).