Felix Adler

Felix Adler

Alzey, Landkreis Alzey-Worms, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 24 Apr 1933 (aged 81)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 11 · View Source
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Religious Reformer. Born in Alzey, Germany, he immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 5 or 6 years old. He graduated from Columbia College in 1870 and returned to Germany to study Continental Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. During his studies, he was much influenced by Immanuel Kant, whose precepts were the foundation of Adler's "eliciting the best" philosophy. Upon returning to the United States in 1873, he became professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature at Cornell University. He delivered his first address to the Temple Emanu-El, one of the most influential Jewish Reform Congregations in New York City, of which his father, Rabbi Samuel Adler was head Rabbi. Although his address regarding ethics was well received by the Congregation, they were unwilling to set aside three thousand years of tradition. In 1876, he founded the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and subsequently played a major part in the establishment of other Ethical Societies across the country.. He remained the moral and spiritual leader of the Ethical Movement until his death in 1933. His achievements were not limited to Ethical Culture. Additionally he is thought to have been a main influence on modern Humansitic Judaism. He founded the Ethical Culture Schools in Manhattan and Fieldston in the Bronx, started the first kindergarten in America and was a champion of social reforms, including the establishment of model low-income housing and the abolition of child labor. In 1902 Adler was given the chair of political and social ethics at Columbia University, a position he held until his death in 1933. A pacifist by nature, he was not opposed to American involvement in the First World War. In 1917 Adler served on the Civil Liberties Bureau, which later became the American Civil Liberties Bureau and then the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 1928 he became president of the Eastern division of the American Philosophical Association. He served on the first Executive Board of the National Urban League. Although he wrote much and lectured even more, his published material is relatively scarce. Some of his published titles are "Creed and Deed" (1878), "Moral Instruction of Children" (1892), "Life and Destiny" (1905), "The Religion of Duty" (1906), "Essentials of Spirituality" (1908), "An Ethical Philosophy of Life" (1918), which was a systematic unfolding of his ideas, "The Reconstruction of the Spiritual Ideal" (1925), which is a collection of the prestigious Hibbert Lectures he gave at Oxford in 1923, and "Our Part in this World".

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Felix Adler (13 Aug 1851–24 Apr 1933), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11, citing Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .