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Rabbi Leon Harrison TEMPLE ISRAEL ST. LOUIS figure COPYRIGHT 1904 BY J. C. STRAUSS ST LOUIS Rabbi Leon Harrison. Rabbi Leon Harrison has but just stepped upon the Lyceum platform, and yet his place there is already assured and enviable. He became a Rabbi at twenty, is still in the thirties, yet is already an acknowledged leader and spokesman of American Jews and is rapidly achieving national fame as an orator, a thinker, and a phenomenally successful public teacher. Leon Harrison, an English Jew by birth, was educated from early childhood in New York, in the public schools, in the City College, and in Columbia University. He entered college with brilliant distinction, outranking 920 candidates for admission. He graduated with highest honors and was immediately called to Brooklyn, where at the age of twenty-one he preached at the overflow meeting of 3,000 persons at Henry Ward Beecher's funeral. For the past thirteen years Dr. Harrison has been Rabbi of the Temple Israel, St. Louis. He had the boldness to be among the first to introduce Sunday Services into the ancient synagogue. These Sunday Services of Rabbi Leon Harrison in the Temple Israel are one of the notable features of St. Louis. The commanding eloquence of the man, his fervor and rare personal magnetism fill the Temple to overflowing equally with Jews and Christians, laymen and scholars, men of every race and creed. To quote from a recent issue of the ST. LOUIS REPUBLIC , (quoted in full later): One of the striking features of this Temple Israel Sunday Service was the cosmopolitan character of the audience. Every profession, all kinds of business, every phase of religious thought, and all the strata of society were represented in the gathering. When Dr. Harrison entered the pulpit he faced a sea of faces which filled every foot of floor space in the large building. Long before he appeared all the seats had been taken, standing room was at a premium, and more than 500 persons were outside, undecided whether to try to crowd in or to retrace their steps. Rabbi Harrison attracts these thousands of cultivated people with his own vigorous thinking, and as an exponent of liberal Jewish thought to the Christian world. His sonorous and well modulated voice easily fills the largest auditoriums. One of his most powerful addresses was delivered at the McKinley obsequies in the great Exposition Coliseum before 20,000 people. Even the dread solemnity of the occasion could not restrain the assembly from cheers and tumultuous applause. The services of Rabbi Harrison are now offered to Chautauqua Assemblies and to Lyceum committees. On the platform, however, as in the pulpit, he prefers to speak on distinctly jewish subjects in order to remove misconceptions regarding the Jews and Judaism from the minds of his Christian fellow-countrymen. SUBJECTS: (In Order of Preference) A Plea for Shylock. Popular Prejudices Against the Jews. Character-Building (An ethical and religious address for Commencements or Religious Assemblies). Jesus, the Jew; what His teachings owed to the Synagogue. In preparation for next summer, two additional lectures: Jewish Wit and Humor., The Glory and Shame of America. SOME REMARKABLE TRIBUTES TO RABBI HARRISON. SIR HENRY IRVING: ST. LOUIS , March 9, 1904. DEAR RABBI HARRISON :—Let me thank you for your address, A Plea for Shylock, which has afforded me so much interest and pleasure. I am quite in accord with you about it … I am glad that I am supported in my conception by the views of many distinguished Hebrews, among whom I count the Rabbi Harrison. Believe me, Sincerely, HENRY IRVING. ISRAEL ZANGWILL: MY DEAR DOCTOR HARRISON :—I have read with great satisfaction your eloquent lecture on The Modern Novel, which must have been stimulating to its hearers for it is in itself a fine example of the sympathetic imagination which it glorifies. Faithfully yours, ISRAEL ZANGWILL. A UNITED STATES JUDGE: Rev. Leon Harrison, St. Louis, Mo. FORT SMITH , Ark., July 7, 1904. MY DEAR SIR :—I had the pleasure of hearing both your lectures delivered before the Chautauqua at this place; they were both highly instructive and intensely entertaining. I delighted; and I cannot forego expressing my gratification to you. Both your lectures were marked by scholarship, learning, catholicity and patriotism; and I sincerely hope that the work in which you are engaged may extend to other communities. Very sincerely yours, JOHN H. ROGERS, Judge of the United States District Court, Eighth Circuit. A UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Rabbi Leon Harrison gave his lecture Popular Prejudices Against the Jews, to a large audience in the University Chapel. His lecture is superb. It is clear, instructive and inspiring. Dr. Harrison is an orator and a scholar. Wherever delivered it will do good and will receive the most profound attention. HENRY S. HARTZOG, President of the University of Arkansas. Oct. 18, 1904. A CHAUTAUQUA MANAGER: BOULDER, COL. , Oct. 10, 1904. Rabbi Leon Harrison lectured for us at the Colorado Chautauqua last season to the great delight of all who heard him. His nimble wit sparkles continually, his pathos is equally moving and contagious, his intensity and marvellous dramatic power simply thrill his immense audiences through and through. Few men of any profession have his mastery of English. His lecture abounded in climaxes of transcendent eloquence. I enthusiastically commend him to Chautauqua Managers and the Lyceum world. FRANK G. TYRRELL, Sup't Colorado Chautauqua, 1904. WHAT NEW YORK THOUGHT: New York Herald: Rarely has so noble a tribute been paid to the dramatic profession as by this gifted Rabbi. St. Louis Star: Doctor Leon Harrison simply electrified New York. His discourse in the great Fifth Avenue Temple, was followed by a perfect ovation. The altar was besieged by hundreds of enthusiasts eager to congratulate the brilliant young preacher. AT THE FUNERAL OF PRESIDENT McKINLEY: St. Louis Republic: (McKinley obsequies in Coliseum.) Thrilled and moved his twenty thousand auditors to tears and tumultuous applause. RABBI HARRISON'S LECTURES. SOME TYPICAL OPINIONS. A NEWSPAPER NOTICE: (The Daily News.) DENVER, COL. , July 18, 1904. A splendid surprise awaited the patrons of the Colorado Chautauqua this afternoon in the address of Rabbi Harrison of St. Louis on Popular Fallacies About the Jews. Dr. Harrison is possessed of a resonant voice and easy stage presence, and early acquired a popularity with the audience that made his special plea for the Jew a successful one from the outset. It is doubtful if any audience ever listened to a more fascinating discussion than his presentation of Shylock's case in The Merchant of Venice. Dr. Harrison was accorded the highest praise by clergy and audience after his address, which occupied ninety minutes in delivery, by all present mounting the platform and insisting upon shaking the distinguished Rabbi by the hand. It is not too much to say that no address delivered under these auspices has ever received more universal praise than that accorded Dr. Harrison. AN ILLINOIS CHAUTAUQUA MANAGER: ROCKFORD, ILL. , Sept. 30, 1904. Rabbi Leon Harrison gave us Shylock at the Rockford Chautauqua in August of this year. He is a most eloquent speaker making even a subject of this character, which perhaps handled by any other man would be considered a dry one, intensely interesting to a popular audience. He certainly is a superb orator. A. C. FOLSOM, Sup't Rockford Chautauqua. RABBI HARRISON'S HOME-FOLLOWING: (From the St. Louis Republic ) The Temple Israel was so crowded yesterday that hundreds had to depart. Fully one-half of those who went to attend the services conducted by Rabbi Leon Harrison Sunday morning, were disappointed; for the simple reason that the seating capicity of Temple Israel is limited. The thousand or more who went early enough to secure seats enjoyed one of the most unique services ever held in the city. One of the striking features of the service was the cosmopolitan nature of the audience. Every profession, all kinds of business, every phase of religious thought and all the strata of society were represented in the gathering. Another striking feature was the music by choir, orchestra, chorus and congregation, and the final blending of all in a rendition of the national anthem, with a ring and volume which fairly shook the rafters of the temple. When Doctor Harrison entered the pulpit he faced a sea of faces which filled every foot of floor space in the large building. Long before he appeared all the seats had been taken, standing room was at a premium, and more than 500 persons were outside, undecided whether to try to crowd in or to retrace their steps. The question was decided for them by the Rabbi, who, in conformity with the city ordinance regarding the crowding of auditoriums, gave orders that the doors be closed. Then the speaker said: I regret exceedingly to be forced to ask those persons in the aisles to leave the building. The ordinances of the city forbid the crowding of buildings and require that the aisles be kept clear. Among those whom this request prevented from participating in the services were many members of Doctor Harrison's congregation, and more than one officer of the temple. Expressions of regret were heard on all sides, but the reason for the order was generally understood, and the motive appreciated. This is the first time in many years that a morning service in any St. Louis house of worship has been interrupted by such a contingency. ANOTHER HOME OPINION: (Globe-Democrat) Before an audience of a thousand, packing the edifice to the doors, the gifted Rabbi was listened to with the most profound attention. A GREAT AUDIENCE IN A LITTLE TOWN: (Louisiana Times) An overflowing house … In spite of the bad weather, the biggest crowd our city has ever furnished turned out to hear Dr. Harrison's lecture. The Baptist Church is about our largest, yet it was too small. The aisles and vacant corners were filled with chairs; and then all standing room was taken, and at last many had to be turned away. The first sentences of the lecturer satisfied the audience that the subject was completely within the grasp of the speaker, and he soon wove a web of enchantment around them that held each one spellbound until the last word was uttered. The speaker on the platform conveyed to you at once the impression of intellectual power of the highest order. His propositions were so clearly stated that they were instantly grasped by the audience and most heartily endorsed. When the end was reached in an hour an thirty minutes, there was a manifest indication that they wanted more of it … His declamation was faultless, and his command of language and power of illustration, simply marvelous. A VETERAN ACTOR: Letter from the late Harry Edwards (a veteran actor, for years 'leading man' in the old Wallack Company), Your magnificent vindication of the legitimate drama and its worthy exponents was both convincing and splendidly eloquent … It should be written in letters of gold over the portals of every church and theater.
|Title||Rabbi Leon Harrison|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||
|Personal Name Subject||Harrison, Leon (Rabbi)|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||4|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|