SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES

Over the past number of years our Association has organized and sponsored a series of Seminars and Conferences, drawing colleagues from all across the country to participate as distinguished guest speakers paid tribute to prominent scholars and leaders who have been instrumental in the shaping of Reform Judaism.

HENRY SLONIMSKY: Our colleague, Jonathan W. Malino, Professor of Philosophy at Guilford College, spoke of the life and legacy of Henry Slonimsky, Professor of Ethics and Philosophy and Dean at JIR in an address entitled "Becoming Doktor Slonimsky: A Personal Quest." Millie Brichto recalled some of Slonimsky's "Favorite Sayings". Herbert Friedman spoke insightfully of Slonimsky's concept of "The Growing God" while Sidney Brichto (z"l) and Jack Bemporad described Slonimsky's "Theology of the Future."

LEO BAECK: Our colleague, Michael A. Meyer, Professor of Jewish History at HUC-JIR, spoke of the life and legacy of Rabbi Leo Baeck, German Jewish communal leader, survivor of the Holocaust and theologian, in an address entitled "The Moral Legacy of Leo Baeck." (Copies are available under "Publications"). Marianne Dreyfus, granddaughter of Leo Baeck and A. Stanley Dreyfus (z"l) added personal recollections and colleagues Jack Bemporad and Robert M. Seltzer discussed Baeck's influence on the shaping of our future.

ELLIS RIVKIN: Our colleague, Francis Barry Silberg, celebrated the life and work of Ellis Rivkin, Professor Emeritus of Jewish History at HUC-JIR, with a keynote address. A thoughtful presentation by Robert M. Seltzer, another of Dr. Rivkin's devoted disciples, added much insight while comments by Jack Bemporad and Alfred Gottschalk (z"l) helped to round out this tribute to Professor Rivkin for his long and influential career as teacher, author and seminal thinker. Dr.Rivkin graciously acknowledged these tributes.

SOLOMON B. FREEHOF: Our colleague, Walter Jacob, Solomon Freehof's longtime associate and currently Senior Scholar at Rodef Shalom, Pittsburgh, President of Abraham Geiger College in Berlin and Past President of the CCAR, delivered the keynote address recognizing the life and legacy of Rabbi Freehof, a master interpreter of the halachic tradition and teacher of Reform responsa for our generation. Aaron B. Bisno, Senior Rabbi of Rodef Shalom, added many keen observations and comments.

ISAIAH ZELDIN: The founding rabbi of the Stephen S. Wise Temple, Los Angeles, a former Dean of our Seminary on the West Coast and the Honorary President of the Association for Progressive Judaism Isaiah (Shai) Zeldin was honored for his life-long achievements and contributions to the advancement of the Reform Jewish movement in an appropriate tribute delivered by Eli Herscher, long time associate of Shai's and the Senior Rabbi of Stephen S. Wise Temple. Dr. Howard Sachar added many recollections of the early years when Shai was planting the seeds of Reform Judaism on the West Coast. Shai responded to these tributes with keen insights and good humor.

DR. HOWARD SACHAR: The New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania Region of our Association for Progressive Judaism paid tribute to Dr. Howard Sachar, Professor Emeritus of History at George Washington University for his many years as a noted teacher, lecturer and prolific author.

JACK BEMPORAD: In a recent seminar, chaired by our colleague, Robert M. Seltzer, Professor of History at Hunter College and the Graduate School of CUNY, our colleague, Jack Bemporad, Director of the Center for Inter-Religious Understanding and Professor of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vatican's Angelicum University in Rome delivered a major paper on the theme "Toward A Theology for Our Time: Confronting God and Evil." In a carefully structured commentary on the address, our colleague, Martin S. Rozenberg, raised some pertinent questions leading to further deliberations and discussions. Both papers are available on request as an email attachment; click on Contact Us.

THE CHALLENGE OF PRAYER IN OUR TIME: Martin S. Rozenberg moderated a conference on this theme and introduced the participants: Professor Mel Scult spoke on "Prayer in the Life of Mordecai M. Kaplan". Jack Bemporad addressed the topic from the perspective of Hermann Cohen and Henry Slonimsky; Lance J. Sussman shared his thoughts on the "Sociology of Prayer" and Sim Prystowsky raised thoughtful questions in his response.