Thursday, September 14, 2006

first rabbis ordained in germany since ww2

our friend ruth gledhill writes in the times this week about the ordination of new rabbis by the abraham geiger college.

i know very little about this seminary, and thus can make no comment about it. the article is headed by a fine picture of my godmother, and ends with quotes from an advance copy of the speech she was to make. what jumped off the screen at me was this paragraph:

“Perhaps we will once again see that extraordinary German Jewish symbiosis. Perhaps once again, with these new rabbis, this rebirth, we will see talent spring forth and a capacity for cultural and intellectual endeavour to find a modus vivendi with a religious life that is not orthodox but is demanding.”

o i could cry at that. that is what we grew up with (julia and i). those were the rabbis and the teachers and the relatives and friends that we knew and loved. they are the reason we do what we do today, or try to.

there was a comparable stratum in the american reform movement, but most of them also now are dusty hardbacks sitting on low shelves in synagogue libraries used as dumping grounds for books that don't fit in the house but cannot be thrown away.

o yeah? how many of these guys have you heard of, and what do you know about them?

(randomly picked as first that come to mind) kaufmann kohler? isaac mayer wise? ok, a bit more recently ... abraham cronbach? jacob petuchowski? steven schwarzschild? alex schindler? arnold jacob wolf? eugene borowitz? a. stanley dreyfus?

actually, the first that came to mind for me was my father, but i didn't want to show off *blush*

this is rather depressing, actually. julia gave up the congregational rabbinate many years ago. i can hardly wait to see her next month and talk about the choices i need to be making.

in any case, good luck to the newly-minted ones.

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