Wednesday, July 09, 2008

rabbi a. stanley dreyfus z"l

3 generations of rabbis in brooklyn

this picture shows me with my two greatest mentors after my late father. to my left is r. stephen arnold, and in front is r. a. stanley dreyfus. today we are mourning stanley's death. i am finding it hard to accept that i am not fit enough to get to the funeral in brooklyn tomorrow. am finding it hard to accept that i will no longer hear stanley's gentle voice telling me to "be good" at the end of a phonecall. meanwhile, here is a brief overview of his life taken from the union temple website. baruch dayan ha-emet.

"Our esteemed Rabbi Emeritus, Dr. A. Stanley Dreyfus, is one of the luminaries of the American Reform Rabbinate. He hails from Youngstown, OH and received his early Jewish education at Rodef Sholom Temple there. He attended a joint course of study through the University of Cincinnati and the Hebrew Union College, which led to a BA in Classics with High Honors and a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters. He also was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1946 he earned a Master of Hebrew Letters degree along with his ordination from Hebrew Union College. Awarded the Heinsheimer Fellowship for graduate sutdy at the College, Rabbi Dreyfus taught Liturgy and served as Director of the Reference Department. Serving as Counsellor to the College’s Interfaith Program, he worked with graduate Christian clergy who were preparing themselves to teach Hebrew, Bible, and Jewish thought in their own seminaries. Rabbi Dreyfus earned a Ph.D. degree from Hebrew Union College in 1951, and twenty years later, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinty.

Dr. Dreyfus served Congregation Beth El in Beaver Falls, PA from 1946-50, and during the summer of 1949, as visiting minister at West London Synagogue in London, England. Subsequently he served as Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in East Liverpool, OH, United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute, IN, and Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston, TX. In 1965 he was called to the pulpit of Union Temple of Brooklyn, where he served with great distinction until his retirement in 1979, when he became Rabbi Emeritus of the congregation. From 1979-1991, he served as Director of the Rabbinic Placement Commission of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, becoming Emeritus upon his retirement.

From 1975-1979, Dr. Dreyfus chaired the Liturgy Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, helping to compile Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayerbook; Gates of the House; Gates of Understanding; and Gates of Repentance.

As a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis since 1946, Dr. Dreyfus has served on the Admissions Committee, the Committee on Patrilinear Descent, the Committee on Homosexuality and the Rabbinate, the Reform Jewish Practice Committee, and the Rabbinic Population Committee. He was a member of the Governing Body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the Board of Governors of the New York Board of Rabbis, the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy of the National Jewish Welfare Board, Chairman of Home Service for the Galveston Red Cross, and Honorary Chairman of the Brooklyn United Hospital Campaign. He was an active member of the Galveston County Biracial Committee and the Human Relations Committee and a number of other organizations devoted to community welfare.

Dr. Dreyfus has served on the faculty of the New York School of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since 1967. He also served as Chaplain, U.S. Army, from 1953-1955, and as an instructor in the Active Reserve for twenty-one years on the faculty of the Army Chaplain school, attaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was President of the Zacharias Frankel Lodge of B’nai B’rith of Galveston, the Association of Texas Rabbis, the Association of Reform Rabbis of New York, the Brooklyn Board of Rabbis, the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis. He was co-Chairman of thne Catholic-Jewish Relations Committee of Brooklyn and Queens.

In 1950 Rabbi Dreyfus married Marianne C. Dreyfus, daughter of Ruth and Dr. Hermann L. Berlak of London, and Granddaughter of Rabbi Dr. Leo Baeck. Marianne holds a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry from London University. Their sons are James Nathaniel, M.D., who is married to Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus; their children are Benjamin William, Lina Ruth, and David Marcel. Their younger son is Richard Baeck, J.D., married to Helen Bagot Dreyfus. They are the parents of Daniel Bagot and Adam Berlak. Richard died after a long illness on March 12, 2005."

huc press release

1 comment:

  1. I'm a member of Union Temeple in Brooklyn and I did my thesis research on the Temple. My ability to complete much of that research was in large part due to Rabbi Dreyfus's work in preserving the historical documents of the temple. He was always a man I respected, but it wasn't until the last two years of his life that I had the honor of getting to know him personally. I am very lucky that I did. He was a lovely, funny man and him and Mrs. Dreyfus were always more than kind and patient with me. I will miss him very, very much.
    -Nikki L.