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This article was published in 1923.
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  • Daily Jewish Courier -- January 08, 1923
    Dr. Emil G. Hirsch of Chicago Sinai Congregation Is Dead

    Dr. Emil G. Hirsch, rabbi of Chicago Sinai Congregation for the past forty-two years, died yesterday afternoon at his home, 4608 Drexel Boulevard, after a brief illness. Dr. Hirsch became ill January 3. He contracted a common cold and was treated by Doctors Isaac Abt, Otto Schmidt, and Solomon Strauss, who stated that his condition was not serious, in order to calm the family. But, privately, they were worried about his condition.

    Later, symptoms of pneumonia and pleurisy developed. Then he began to improve until Saturday night, when his condition suddenly became critical, and about midnight the doctors gave up all hope, declaring that he would not survive the night. At 5:30 A. M. he died. Mrs. Mathilda Hirsch, widow of the deceased, and his daughter, Mrs. Levy, and her husband, Dr. Gerson B. Levy, were at the deathbed. The funeral will be held today at 9:30 A. M. from Sinai Congregation, where Dr. Levy will deliver the eulogy.

    Dr. Emil G. Hirsch died at the age of seventy-one. He was one of the most 2learned men and most famous orators among the Reform rabbis. He was the defender and spokesman of the Reform movement in America. On several occasions he presented himself as an opponent of Zionism, but he would often reveal sympathetic Jewish sentiments. His exact position in regard to the Jewish problem was never known.

    Dr. Hirsch was born in Luxemburg in 1852, where his father, Dr. Samuel Hirsch, who belonged to the old generation of German Reformists and was a profound scholar and thinker, was rabbi. In 1886 Dr. Samuel Hirsch emigrated to America with his family. When the deceased [Dr. Emil G. Hirsch] was nineteen years old, his father became rabbi of the Congregation, Anshe Kneseth Israel in Philadelphia and was one of the founders of the Reform movement in America, agitating particularly for the observance of Sunday instead of Sabbath. (The senior Dr. Hirsch died in Chicago in 1889.)

    In 1872 Emil Gustav Hirsch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then went to Europe where he resumed his studies at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig and also in the Hochschule Fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums 3(Academy for the Study of Judaism). In 1877 he returned to America and was engaged as rabbi of the Mt. Sinai Congregation in Baltimore. A year later he was engaged by the Congregation Adat Israel in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1880 he was invited to occupy the pulpit of the Chicago Sinai Congregation in Chicago and remained there for over forty-two years.

    Dr. Hirsch published a few journals in the interest of the Reformists: the Zeitgeist in German (published in Milwaukee); the Reformer in English (published in New York); and the Reform Advocate in English (published in Chicago). He was also professor of Jewish philosophy at the University of Chicago, and for a short time, lectured at John Hopkins University in Baltimore on "Jewish Poetry and Prose".

    Dr. Hirsch was a director of the Chicago Public Library for more than ten years and held other responsible offices such as Presidential elector, and member of the first Morals Commission, which was set up by Mayor Harrison. He also took an active part in Jewish charitable affairs in Chicago. He was one 4of the founders of the Jewish Manual Training School and the Associated [Jewish] Charities, which is now united with the Jewish Federation of Orthodox Charities.

    Because of the death of Dr. Hirsch, the meeting of the Council of Jewish Women, which was scheduled for today, has been postponed. The Mothers' Aid Society, which is supposed to meet Wednesday, has also postponed its meeting.

    IV, III C