The major part of this issue is taken up by four articles organised by Cornelia Wilhelm on the theme of ‘The Synagogue and the Legacies of the Holocaust: The German Refugee Rabbis and Cantors’. It is a continuation of Professor Wilhelm's research on the fate of refugee rabbis who escaped from Nazi Germany. The topic was previously considered in our issue (Volume 45, No. 2, September 2012) which published the proceedings of a conference organised by Professor Wilhelm and Tobias Grill in Tutzing on 1 October 2009 on ‘German Rabbis Abroad’. Here, Professor Wilhelm introduces the four articles and provides an overview of the topics covered.
Every few years we publish papers delivered at the International Jewish Christian Bible Week, organised jointly by Leo Baeck College and Haus Ohrbeck, Osnabrück, and the next collection is scheduled to appear in our autumn issue. The Bible Week offers opportunities for exploring the different perspectives on biblical materials from the Jewish and Christian points of view. In this issue we include an example of these ‘Texts in Dialogue’ in which Veronika Bachmann and Mark Solomon explore chapter 24 of Jesus Ben Sirach. Though part of some Christian biblical traditions, it is not included in the Jewish biblical canon, but the book is cited numerous times in the Talmud and the two articles here offer a Christian and Rabbinic examination of its themes.
Barbara Borts examines the traditional rabbinic regulation of the role of women in Jewish life, particularly issues surrounding the negative attitude towards women's voices in both liturgical and broader community contexts. By an interesting coincidence, her reflections on the prejudices against women cantors and the changing nature of contemporary Jewish liturgical compositions and performances touch on concerns already expressed by Eric Werner in the immediate post-war period, which are addressed in Judah Cohen's article earlier in the issue.
Maciej ‘Mati’ Kirschenbaum explores contemporary questions about the requirements for accepting proselytes into Judaism through examining how two contrasting sets of rabbinic materials address the basis of the ‘conversion’ of the biblical figure of Ruth.
Paul Delany draws a connection between the shift in Isaiah Berlin's sexuality and his turn from analytical philosophy towards the history of ideas. He suggests that these shifts in Berlin's thinking are reflected in two concepts of liberty, negative and positive. The article also notes the prejudices that a generation of Jewish intellectuals faced in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, and how the ambivalence of that experience impacted on Berlin's attitude to Zionism and Diaspora.
We are sad to record the deaths of Eric Friedland, the renowned scholar of Jewish liturgy, and two rabbinic graduates of Leo Baeck College, American-born Rabbi Neil Kraft and Hungarian-born Rabbi Andre Ungar, a Holocaust survivor ordained by Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck shortly before the formal opening of the College.