Anticipating the eventual retirement of their longtime rabbi, the congregation hired William Fineshriber as an associate rabbi who would take eventually take over the senior position.
took over religious leadership of Children of Israel.
Fineshriber was the congregation's first native-born rabbi and the first one to be ordained by Hebrew Union College.
A very popular rabbi whose sermons covered a wide array of subjects, Fineshriber
was not afraid to discuss the controversial issues of the day.
When the debate over teaching evolution reached its peak in Tennessee in the 1920s, Fineshriber
devoted three consecutive sermons to the subject, drawing large crowds.
also spoke out against racial violence and hatred.
After a particularly brutal lynching in Memphis in 1917, Fineshriber
convened a congregational meeting, and got the members to endorse a public condemnation of the attack, which ran in a local newspaper.
From the pulpit, he
denounced the Ku Klux Klan as a threat to American principles and more dangerous than "Bolshevism.
Fineshriber's statements helped to encourage over civic leaders to oppose the Klan, which never took deep root in Memphis.
In 1924, Rabbi Fineshriber left Children of Israel for the bigger stage of Philadelphia's Keneseth-Israel.