Rabbi Dr Joseph Strauss 1845- 1922
Joseph Strauss was born in Berlichingen, Wuerbeinberg in Germany in the year 1845. Educated at Stuttgart Royal Gymnasium, a well known German grammar school, he took classes in philosophy, classics, Semitic languages, natural sciences and science and education.
He qualified as a Rabbi in 1870 and whilst waiting for a suitable Rabbinical posting, he studied an MA in medieval history and modern philosophy. As a result of this additional study he became a Dr of Philosophy, having written about the ‘religious philosophy of Ion Erra’. It was then that he worked as an assistant to his former tutor, Rev Von Maiser for 3 years.
He was a passionate Zionist, and gave many a sermon about beliefs whilst travelling and in 1890, he appointed delegates to the second Zionist congress in Baste, Switzerland.
Having moved to the UK, and after gaining a reputation for being well mannered, very learned, amiable and broad-minded, it was in 1873 that he was employed by the Jewish community of Bradford to be their first Rabbi. In his first sermon as Rabbi, he spoke about Bradford’s reputation abroad for manufacturing success, and how he felt that he had be called upon by Abraham to his appointment there. He did many services around Bradford on Shabbat, and took the time to teach Jewish children about Judaism and Hebrew..
In 1876, he was appointed lecturer in Hebrew and Oriental languages at Airedale Independent College., and his works ‘Religion and Morals’ was published in 1876. It went on to sell several editions
After 5 years, the congregation presented him with a gold Chronometer watch and writing desk. His teachings gained him the respect of the Jewish and Christian congregations of the day who were sympathetic to his teachings, and Bowland Street Synagogue was erected in 1881, which he took great pride in being a part of.
Towards the end of his career, he raised £800.00 so that the Jews could have their own burial ground at Scholemoor Cemetery. Dr Strauss will always be remembered as a remarkable man who influenced the lives of the Jewish congregation in Bradford for many years from his own time.