Joseph Krauskopf (1858-1923), was the third senior rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Philadelphia, PA. Born in an eastern province of Germany, he was a member of the first graduating class (1883) of the Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati, Ohio). Two years later, Krauskopf, initiated the process resulting in the writing of the 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, the defining document of classical Reform Judaism. In 1887, he accepted a call to the pulpit of Keneseth Israel after brief but noteworthy service in Kansas City.
Once installed at KI, Krauskopf helped guide the congregation's effort to build an large neoclassical complex on North Broad Street. An impressive orator, Krauskopf's Sunday discourses attracted large crowds, many of whom joined the synagogue, transforming KI into the largest synagogue in the United States. at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1896, Krauskopf founded the National Farm School near Doylestown, PA, now the Delaware Valley University (2015), after a trip to visit Leo Tolstoy in Russia to discuss his progressive approach to cure social ills resulting from rapid urbanization.
A prolific writer, Krauskopf published hundreds of discourses, many of which reported on his world wide trips including the early kibbutzim in Ottoman Palestine. He was also the author of a number of important books including works on religion and science, anti-semitism, Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish history. During his lifetime, he was widely recognized as one of America's leading pulpit rabbis.
My Trip to Israel 1914