The paper addresses an under-researched chapter in the history of the Jewish Reform movement which is at the same time a commonly overlooked period in the biography of Leopold Zunz (1794–1886), one of the founding members of Wissenschaft des Judentums. By placing his eight-month appointment as a preacher to the Reform synagogue in Prague in its socio-political and biographical contexts, the article sheds new light at Zunz’s commitment for the religious renewal of Judaism. A schematic comparison between the development of the Reform movement in the German lands and the Habsburg Monarchy, at the beginning of the nineteenth century highlights the role of state involvement into internal Jewish affairs. Finally, the analysis of Zunz’s Synagogenordnung from 1836, according to the original manuscript from the National Library of Israel, allows a re-evaluation of the (Reform) synagogue as an institution for social disciplining of its members.
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