From the Memoirs of a Challenger, by Rabbi Yosef Alman:

It was a lovely day in May, 1899, and Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (1818-1900), age 81, was slowly and feebly walking down a street in Cincinnati. As he faltered along, he met the much younger Rabbi Alman, professor of languages at Hebrew Union College, which Rabbi Wise had founded in 1875.

The young rabbi shook his older colleague’s trembling hand and respectfully murmured, “Good morning, sir. And how is Isaac Mayer Wise today?”

“Isaac Mayer Wise is well, quite well, thank you,” said the aged rabbi. “But the house in which he lives at present is becoming quite dilapidated. It is tottering upon its foundations. Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it. Its roof is pretty well worn out. Its walls are much shattered and it trembles with every wind. The old tenement is becoming almost uninhabitable, and I think Isaac Mayer Wise will have to move out of it soon. But he himself is quite well, thank you.”

Rabbi Alman records “I had an almost irresistible impulse to enfold him in a bearhug, and I would have, had I not been certain that the old boy would have belabored me with his cane for such an affront to his dignity.”


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