Prophet in a Time of Priests: Rabbi “Alphabet” Browne 1845-1929

The Story of a Remarkable Man and an Important Era in American Jewish History
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Nov. 9, 2012 - PRLog -- “From the time Rabbi Edward M. Browne stepped up to the pulpit until his death 60 years later, he was a ‘spiritual entrepreneur’ in the rabbinate, in Zionism, in the public sector and in the political arena…. His life was filled with exciting possibilities for himself and for the people he served.” David Geffen in The Jerusalem Post

“This warts-and-all biography recounts the strange-but-true story of one of America’s most colorful, accomplished, and eccentric religious leaders. Few recall Browne today, but as this prodigiously researched volume demonstrates, they should. His life illuminates significant chapters in the history of American Judaism.” —Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History

Atlanta, GA and Washington, D.C. – In her book Prophet in a Time of Priests: Rabbi “Alphabet” Browne 1845-1929, Janice Rothschild Blumberg tells for the first time the extraordinary story of her great-grandfather, Edward Benjamin Morris (“Alphabet”) Browne. Between his arrival in the United States from Hungary during post-Civil War Reconstruction and his death at the onset of the Great Depression, he grabbed headlines as a controversial rabbi, journalist, attorney and political activist—all in the pursuit of justice.

Known as “Alphabet” for the numerous initials he signed after his name (LLD, AM, BM, DD, MD), Browne moved from place to place, like most rabbis of the day, serving congregations in the South, Midwest and New York. His accomplishments included publishing the South's first Jewish-interest newspaper; successfully defending an elderly immigrant wrongfully convicted of murder; serving as an honorary pallbearer for President Grant; helping Benjamin Harrison win the presidency; bullying Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft to establish a Jewish chaplaincy for the military; being honored by Sultan Abdul Hamid of the Ottoman Empire; and discussing Europe’s “Jewish problem” with Pope Leo XIII.

“My purpose here has been to portray a portion of the Jewish experience in America through the life of a fascinating, complicated personality who devoted himself to the betterment of his people and his country during a period of enormous changes and great turmoil for both,” writes Blumberg. Through vivid storytelling and meticulous research, she presents a compelling biography of a man and an era that should not be forgotten.

Janice Rothschild Blumberg is an author and speaker on American Jewish history, particularly Southern Jewish History. A native of Atlanta who lived for many years in Washington D.C., Blumberg experienced Jewish history first-hand as the wife, now widow, of two outspoken Jewish leaders, Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild of Atlanta (spiritual leader of The Temple when it was bombed in 1958 and friend of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and David M. Blumberg of Knoxville, Tennessee (civic leader and international president of B’nai B’rith 1971-1978).

Her previous books include One Voice: Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild and the Troubled South (1984) and As But a Day, The First Hundred Years (1967, rev. 1987). She has written articles for the Encyclopedia Judaica and The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Sunday Magazine and is a regular columnist for The Jewish Georgian. She served as president of the Southern Jewish Historical Society.

Prophet in a Time of Priests: Rabbi “Alphabet” Browne 1845-1929 by Janice Rothschild Blumberg
Apprentice House, Spring 2012
Paperback, 415 pages, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-934074-73-1
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