In the post-war period, numerous Jewish schools and other educational institutions emerged throughout Europe. Some of these were recreated from old institutions of learning while others were brand new, catering for a new population in the post-war era. Each country and city grappled with the provision of Jewish education of its young in its own way. The national governments in Europe have different attitudes to funding and controlling religious education, and this has shaped formal Jewish education. Countries like England have incorporated Jewish day schools into their national schooling system, which require certain conditions on governance and curriculum provision to be met, but thereby provide free, accessible Jewish schools to all. Other countries like France and Germany offer a different model where Jewish religious education is handled outside the core curriculum of state schooling. Other factors that influence the differing models are the availability and training of teachers and madrichim as well as the funding possibilities for new schools, kindergartens and youth programming. Often new educational initiatives were sponsored by a single individual or were nurtured by Israeli or international Jewish organisations such as ORT or the Joint. In this last decade we are beginning now to see more systemised attempts to provide Jewish education, including more centralised training and cooperation.
The tasks that Rabbi Baeck sets out for us are the text and context for our conference. His own contributions to the science and study of Judaism, his focus on aggadic literature, a dialogue with Christianity and a vigorous defence of Judaism's covenant with the living God will inform and guide our deliberations throughout the four days. Each day will deal with a thematic aspect of the challenges and tasks facing Progressive Judaism while the conference as a whole seeks to engage us all in a debate about our future in the light of our own spiritual and intellectual inheritance.
A Jewish Perspective
Judaism has long been a religion of particularity and universalism. The prophets of ancient Israel propounded universal messages of civilising influence for all Peoples and Nations. However emphasis on the particularity within Judaism has been prevalent in the modern era leaving it open to criticising voices who accuse religions in general of delusion and danger. How must Judaism and its relationship with other faiths become again a force for repair, for justice and for conscience in this fractured world? How can we get our particularistic religious faiths to be reflective of a world working towards a universal hope for the future?
My experience of the College predates my admission to the Rabbinic programme. While I was studying Hebrew at UCL in the late 70s, I was fortunate enough to watch Charles Middleburgh and Jonathan Romain successfully make the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate rabbinic studies and knowing them allowed me access to the hallowed halls of the College at West London Synagogue.
Michael J. Shire and Albert H. Friedlander
God said Amen, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Vermont, Jewish Lights, June 2000, 32 pp., $16.95, ISBN 1-58023-080-6
University Over the Abyss: The story behind 485 lecturers and 2309 lectures in KZ Theresienstadt 1942-1944, Elena Makarova, Sergei Makarov, Victor Kuperman, Jerusalem, Verba Publishers, 2000, 472 pp., £20, ISBN 965-424-035-1
Ein Grundstück in Mitte: Das Gelände des künftigen Holocaust-Mahnmals in Wort und Bild. Editors: Rikki Kalbe and Moshe Zuckermann, Berlin and Tel Aviv, Wallstein Verlag, 2000, 93 pp., DM38, ISBN 3-89244-400-5
Random Harvest: The Novellas of Bialik, translated by David Patterson and Ezra Spicehandler, Westview Press, 1999, 299 pp., $28, ISBN 0-8133-6711-3
Amanda Golby, Laura Janner Klausner, Charles Middleburgh, Jeff Newman, Walter Rothschild, Michael Shire, and Daniel J. Lasker
Langham, Raphael, 250 Years of Convention and Contention: a History of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1760-2010, London, Vallentine Mitchell, 2010, 320 pp., ISBN 978-0853039822.
Kahn-Harris, Keith and Gidley, Ben, Turbulent Times: the British Jewish community today, London, Continuum, 2011, 248 pp., ISBN 978-1847144768.
Blue, Lionel, The Godseeker’s Guide, London, New York, Continuum, 2010, 186 pp., ISBN 978-1847-06418-9.
Gryn, Naomi (ed.), Three Minutes of Hope. Hugo Gryn on the God Slot, London, New York, Continuum, 2010, 270 pp., ISBN 978-1-4411-4035-7.
Hoelting, Kurt, The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life, Cambridge MA, Da Capo Press, 2010, 356pp., ISBN 978-1458758880.
Sznaider, Natan, Jewish Memory and the Cosmopolitan Order, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2011, 205 pp., ISBN 978-0-7456-4796-8.
Gigliotti, Simione, The Train Journey, New York and Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2009, 244 pp., ISBN 978-1-57181-268-1.
Jospe, Raphael, Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages, Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2009, $65/$33, 620 pp., ISBN 978-1-934843-09-3/978-1-934843-27-7.
Rynhold, Daniel, An Introduction to Medieval Jewish Philosophy, London/ New York, I.B. Tauris, 2009, £49.50/£16.99, 272 pp., ISBN 978-1-845117- 47-4/978-1-845117-48-1.
Michael Shire, Michael Stannard, David Goldberg, Charles D. Middleburgh, Jeffrey Newman, Sidney Brichto, Danny Rich, and Albert H. Friedlander
Hans Sigismund Rahmer (John Desmond Rayner), rabbi: born Berlin 1924; ordained rabbi 1953; Minister, South London Liberal Synagogue 1953–57; Associate Minister, Liberal Jewish Synagogue 1957–61, senior Minister 1961–89 (Minister Emeritus); Lecturer in Liturgy and Rabbinic Literature, Leo Baeck College 1966–2003, Director of Studies 1966–69, Vice-President 1969–2005; Chairman, Council of Reform and Liberal Rabbis 1969–71, 1982–84, 1989–92; President, London Society of Jews and Christians 1990; CBE 1993; Honorary Life President, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues 1994; married 1955 Jane Heilbronn (two sons, one daughter); died London 19 September 2005.
Ariel Friedlander, Michal Friedlander, Noam Friedlander, Lionel Blue, Eveline Goodman-Thau, Paul Oestreicher, Thomas Salamon, Tony Bayfield, Sidney Brichto, Michael Shire, and Jane Clements
Albert Hoschander Friedlander, rabbi: born Berlin 10 May 1927; ordained rabbi 1952; Rabbi, United Hebrew Congregation, Fort Smith, Arkansas 1952–56; Rabbi, Temple B’nai Brith, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1956–61; Religious Counsellor, Columbia University 1961–66; Founder Rabbi, Jewish Center of the Hamptons, East Hampton, New York 1961–66; Rabbi, Wembley Liberal Synagogue 1966–71; Lecturer, Leo Baeck College 1967–71, Director 1971–82, Dean 1982–2004; Senior Rabbi, Westminster Synagogue 1971–97 (Rabbi Emeritus); Editor, European Judaism 1982–2004; OBE 2001; President, Council of Christians and Jews 2003–04; married 1961 Evelyn Philipp (three daughters); died London 8 July 2004.