Thinking Ahead Toward the Next Generation of Judaism
A Collection of Essays By Contemporary Reform Rabbis and Scholars In Honor of Oskar Brecher President of Temple Israel of the City of New York 1995-2000
Essays in honor of Oskar Brecher.
"Oskar Brecher became president of Temple Israel of the City of New York because of his Herculean efforts in restoring the external physical integrity of our building, as a chairman of the House Committee. He claimed, when he agreed to accept the presidency, that his interest in the "religious" side of Judaism was limited, but that he would help the congregation in any way he could, out of a sense of obligation to the community. Despite his protestations, Oskar Brecher quickly became a leading advocate for restoring the intellectual and spiritual integrity of Reform Judaism. His knowledge of Jewish texts and history gives him a level of credibility unusual among the lay leadership of our movement. He has pushed us to probe beyond the surface of popular Jewish trends, to articulate a coherent philosophical approach for modern Jews.
Each of the authors in this volume has emerged as an important partner of Temple Israel in this quest for a viable modern Judaism. I extend my deepest gratitude to each of them for participating in this publication, and for sharing our journey.
Oskar Brecher has observed that the work of a Temple president is ephemeral and leaves behind no lasting mark as the institution continues to move forward. I do not usually disagree with him–and certainly not publicly–but in this case I know that he is wrong. Not only will he leave permanently transformed the physical appearance and effectiveness of our building, but he has also permanently transformed how we think about our lives as members of the Jewish community. This volume is the proof—and we offer it to him in gratitude for his constant support and encouragement. We hope that it will provide food for serious thought and discussion among its readers and motivate others to join us in this quest for a meaningful, living Judaism for our children and our children's children. " — Judith S. Lewis, Senior Rabbi