a1 Colby College Waterville, Maine
With these words, Alexander Kohut engaged the radical Reform stance of Kaufman Kohler in the spring of 1885. The exchange with Kohler crystallized Kohut's raison d'être for Conservative Judaism: an authentic alternative to what he termed “stupid Orthodoxy and insane Reform.” Kohut articulated a fully developed version of this view in Ethics of the Fathers, a compilation of his polemics against Kohler that he published a few months later. This earned Kohut a place among the Conservative movement's pantheon of nineteenth-century founders, along with Sabato Morais, Benjamin Szold, and Marcus Jastrow.
I express my gratitude to Deborah Dash Moore and Harvey Meirovich for their comments and criticisms.