Sun and Shield is a collection of devotional texts, featuring a unique combination of biblical, Jewish, pagan, Christian, Islamic and modern literary texts. Quotes from a diverse range of authors can be found, such as Goethe, Plutarch and Mohamed.
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Sun and Shield
is a collection of devotional texts, featuring a unique combination of biblical, Jewish, pagan, Christian, Islamic and modern literary texts. The biblical Moses, Moses Maimonides, and Moses Mendelson can be found next to each other, as well as quotes from a diverse range of authors such as Goethe, Plutarch and Mohamed. Gottheil called this book with readings for every day a
. It contains 366 readings divided in twelve sections that are thematically grouped under headings such as 'Humanity,' 'God,' 'Sabbath,' 'Time,' and 'Eternity'. Even though
Sun and Shield
is ostensibly a book for private comfort and inspiration, it is implicitly also a treatise on appreciation of Jewish culture intended for non-Jewish as well as Jewish readers. This was one of Gottheil's major concerns, in his writings as well as in his work as a Reform rabbi and in his social and cultural activism. In his 1886 preface he acknowledges that the book will furnish a "view of modern Judaism which will be as welcome to the Jewish as to the non-Jewish reader".
Gustav Gottheil was born in Pinne, Prussia on May 28, 1827. He attended the University of Berlin and the Berlin rabbinical college, and served as assistant minister at the
Berliner Reformgemeinde. From 1860 to 1873, he served as a rabbi in Manchester, England. He emigrated to New York City in 1873 where he became assistant rabbi, and in 1974 rabbi of the Reform Temple Emmanu-El, which he remained until his retirement in 1899. Gottheil was a bridge from the German beginnings of Reform to its Eastern American flowering. His influence on Reform Judaism in the United States was great; he was the founder of several Jewish societies and a governor of the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College. In 1886 he prepared the first American Jewish hymnbook, much of which was incorporated in the Union Hymnal adopted by most of the American Reform congregations. Gottheil was the most prominent American rabbi at the first World Zionist Congress (1897), and he became one of the founders of the Federation of American Zionists, later the Zionist Organization of America. He was one of the earliest rabbis in this country to reach out to the Christian community. Gottheil died April 15, 1903 in New York City.
Allen Darnov was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New Your City, in 1986. He now serves as the rabbi of The Reform Temple of Putnam Valley. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in the field of Hebrew Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, and he has served as part-time faculty for HUC-JIR, JTSA, and for the Academy for Jewish Religion in Riverdale.