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Caesar Seligmann

SELIGMANN, CAESAR (1860–1950), leader of Liberal Judaism in Germany. Born in Landau, Seligmann was appointed preacher of the Liberal synagogue (Temple) in Hamburg in 1889, and from 1902 to 1939 he officiated as rabbi in Frankfurt. In 1910 he published for the Liberal synagogue (Western synagogue) a two-volume prayer book (Israelitisches Gebetbuch, 2nd ed. 1928) that was even more extreme than any proposed by the German Reform movement to that date. One of the founders of the *Vereinigung fuer das liberale Judentum in 1910, he edited its organ, Liberales Judentum, which appeared from 1910 to 1922. In cooperation with I. *Elbogen and H. *Vogelstein, in 1929 he published the "unified prayer book," restoring to the Liberal rite many traditional prayers which had been previously excluded. His other works include a collection of popular lectures, Judentum und moderne Weltanschauung (1905), and a history of the Reform movement, Geschichte der juedischen Reformbewegung von Mendelssohn bis zur Gegenwart (1922). When addressing the Liberal rabbis in Wiesbaden in 1937, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the rabbinical conference convened by A. *Geiger, Seligmann advised his colleagues to become reconciled with Zionism. In 1939 he moved to London, where he lived until his death. His autobiography, Mein Leben. Erinnerungen eines Grossvaters, was written in 1941 but only one chapter was published.


Juedisch-Liberale Zeitung, Festnummer (Dec. 11, 1930); B. Italiener, in: Synagogue Review, 24 (1949–50), 277ff.; YLBI, 5 (1960), 346–50.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.