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Tony Bayfield


Two narratives dominate British Jewry: (1) Do not get too close to wider society or you will assimilate physically and theologically; and (2) The only future for Jews is in Israel. Ned Curthoys in The Legacy of Liberal Judaism identifies the German Liberale tradition as offering a third option – engagement. First, engage both to learn from wider society and contribute distinctively to it. Second, question the justice of society out of the Jewish experience of injustice. Third, include uncomfortable minorities and subversive voices; do not create pariahs. Fourth, maintain a cautious optimism about collaborating beyond narrow nationalisms to create a better society. It is possible this alternative has been proven vain by history but we have no alternative but to try again. It is not a comfortable place but it is a good place to be.

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Rabbi Dr Maybaum and Rabbi Dr Baeck

A Footnote to Professor David Ellenson's Lecture

Tony Bayfield

There is a long essay entitled "Leo Baeck in Terezin" which, as far as I know, first appeared in The Face of God After Auschwitz, the first volume of Ignaz Maybaum I ever owned, published under the auspices of RSGB in 1965. The essay seems to have been prompted by the not widely acknowledged ambiguity with which Baeck was received in London in the period up to his death in 1956. For most, Baeck was a saint. For some, however, his affirmation of the western philosophical tradition in Terezin constituted a humanistic betrayal. The Maybaum essay acknowledges the criticism. However, it is, ultimately, not only a stout defence but gets very close to Baeck's essence. What Maybaum argues is that when Baeck lectured in Terezin, he was not engaging in secular, humanistic education. Nor was he dismissing the Greek and German heritage but using it as religious protest. Because, even in Terezin - Baeck affirmed, says Maybaum, 'Truth - like the world - is the creation of God' and 'Truth, morality and love are the creation of God' and '… those who walk forward towards the kingdom of God are not taught by philosophers to do so; they are sent on this journey by God'.

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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.

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Neil Amswych, Hillel Avidan, Sami Barth, Tony Bayfield, Francis Ronald Berry, Barbara Borts, Jeffrey Cohen, Bernard Davis, Michal Friedlander, Jeffrey Gale, Guy Hall, Richard Harries, Harry Jacobi, Laura Janner-Klausner, Deborah Kahn-Harris, Charles Middleburgh, Jonathan Magonet, Dow Marmur, Julia Neuberger, Phil Pegum, Danny Rich, Jonathan Romain, Walter Rothschild, Elli Tikvah Sarah, Victor Jeleniewski Seidler, Michael Shire, Judy Smith, Jackie Tabick, Charles Wallach and Andrea Zanardo