Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Felix Adler

(1851 - 1933)

ADLER, FELIX (1851–1933), U.S. philosopher and educator. Adler was born in Germany, the son of the Reform rabbi Samuel *Adler . He studied at Columbia University and preached as a rabbi at Temple Emanu-el in New York, but was too rationalistic to accept Judaism in any traditional sense. In 1874 he accepted a professorship in Hebrew and Oriental literature established at Cornell. Two years later he founded the Society for Ethical Culture, which advocated an ethic apart from any religion or dogma. The Society gained support mainly among intellectuals in America and abroad. Adler worked for various social causes such as maternal and child welfare, vocational training schools, medical care for the poor, labor problems, and civic reform. In 1883 he founded the first U.S. group for child study. Adler was appointed professor of social ethics at Columbia in 1902. His main writings include Creed and Deed (1877); Moral Instruction of Children (1892); Prayer and Worship (1894); An Ethical Philosophy of Life (1918), which is partly autobiographical; and The Reconstruction of the Spiritual Ideal (1924; The Hibbert Lectures). He was an editor of the International Journal of Ethics.


H. Simonhoff, Saga of American Jewry from 1865–1914 (1959), 178–85; H. Cohen, They Builded Better Than They Knew (1946), 32–40; H. Neumann, Spokesmen for Ethical Religion (1951), 3–62.

[Richard H. Popkin]

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