||Strongly worded protest against the philosophy expressed by Zacharis Frankel and represented in his Breslau Seminary, a forerunner of the Conservative movement by R. R. Leib Raff. The flier begins by noting that Dr. Frankel in his Breslau seminary is going to instruct Jews to fight the wars of the Lord, to instruct them in the written and oral Torah. Reference is made to Frankel’s Darkhei ha-Mishnah. It then notes that when the gaon R. Samson Raphael Hirsch saw Darkhei ha-Mishnah he called it Darkhei ha-Hoshekh (the way of darkness) and others Darkhei ha-Met (of death) for it is not faithful to the halakhot of Moses from Sinai but rather many will stumble because of it. The flier continues in strong language, noting the opposition of the Hatam Sofer and stating that one should turn from the ways of this Mishnah for they are the ways of madness.
Zacharis Frankel (1801–1875) was a rabbi and scholar. Frankel was born in Prague. After receiving a talmudic education under R. Bezalel Ronsburg , he studied philosophy, natural sciences, and philology in Budapest (1825–30). In 1831 the Austrian government appointed him district rabbi (Keiserrabbiner) of Leitmeritz (Litomerice) and he settled in Teppliz (Teplice) where he was elected local rabbi. He was one of the first rabbis to preach in German and express by that his positive attitude towards modernity and social integration of Jews within general society and culture. In 1836 he was called by the Saxon government to Dresden to act as chief rabbi. The publication of his study on the Jewish oath led to its abolition in several German states. He declined a call to Berlin in 1843, mainly because the Prussian government would not meet his stipulations (complete legal recognition of the Jewish faith – until then merely "tolerated"; denial to support to missionary activities among Jews, etc.). In 1845 he attended the second conference of Liberal rabbis in Frankfurt and advocated there a much more moderate-conservative approach than most of the participants to the issue of required reform in Judaism. He withdrew from the conference and broke his ties with Liberal rabbis once his direction was rejected and the conference adopted the idea of promoting both prayers and sermons in German rather than in Hebrew. In 1854, after having actively advocated its establishment, Frankel became director of the newly founded Juedisch-Theologisches Seminar (Jewish Theological Seminary) at Breslau, where he remained until his death. As a theologian Frankel aimed at a synthesis between the traditional notion of Judaism as linear continuity anchored in divine revelation and based on Jewish law (halakhah) on the one hand and response to contemporary fundamental changes in the Jewish life on the other hand. He viewed Judaism as a dynamic balance between the Divine will, as expressed in the Torah, and the human response of the Jewish people, as manifested in the history of the Jewish people. This balance was articulated in the title he gave to the new denomination he established within Jewish life, namely "positive-historical" Judaism. The positive pole of this formulation referred both to the revealed-legalistic nature of Judaism and to its objective eternal and unchangeable content. The historic pole expressed the role Frankel ascribed to the human, ever-changing, and contextually dependent response of the Jewish community to this Divine content. Only the combination of these two poles determines what Judaism is and what is truly a mitzvah. The duty of the rabbis, as he understood it, was to combine loyalty to halakhah with sensitivity to the voice of kelal yisrael (the entire community or people of Israel). Frankel's approach thus led him to a rejection of both Reform and Orthodox notions of Judaism. In the Reform movement, led by Abraham Geiger he saw both a negation of loyalty to Jewish law and the lack of genuine dialogue with the Jewish masses. The Reform rabbis mistakenly believed that they had the authority to determine Jewish dogma by themselves without taking popular sentiment and their way of life seriously into consideration. The Orthodox rabbis, led by R. S.R. Hirsch , were criticized by him for not taking in account the historic dynamics and evolution of Judaism, and the need to free Judaism from its frozen state and irrelevance to current Jewish life. Both Reform and Orthodox ignored the very life of the Volk, the real source of authority for the work of the rabbi. It should be noted, that though Frankel wished to place himself at the "center," his critique of the Reform wing was much sharper and aggressive than that of Orthodoxy. The former were accused of transgressing Judaism altogether; the latter only of not properly relating to the current needs and concerns of the Jews. This imbalance represents the fact that it was Orthodoxy that designed for him the criteria for Jewish life, while his Reform counterparts were perceived as representing a much less urgent and acute challenge. Frankel promoted these ideas in his professional life in the way he designed the program of the Breslau seminary as well as in the kind of tendencies he developed within academic Jewish research (Wissenschaft des Jusentums). The Breslau seminary was the first modern institute for rabbinical education, combining clear emphasis on rabbinical studies – mainly in a traditional manner – with the study of the wider range of Jewish studies in connection with the local university. The unique nature of the Breslau seminary was questioned by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch , who challenged Frankel, upon the seminary's opening, to state the religious principles that would guide instruction there. At the same time, Abraham Geiger criticized the seminary's classic method of talmudic instruction. As a scholar Frankel focused on the study of rabbinic literature, presenting it as a human activity, reflecting its historical context, and hence a dynamic and open process of hermeneutics and adaptation of the Torah. By that he presented the rabbinic discourse and authority as the center of Jewish history and essence, in contrary to the Reform theologians and scholars who emphasized the Bible and theological discourse. At the same time Frankel presented the rabbis as the creators of Jewish legal tradition, in contrary to the traditional and Orthodox understanding of them as the carriers of the Divine oral law, revealed at Sinai. The "positive-historical" ("Breslau") school influenced later the Conservative movement in the United States and served as its theoretical basis.