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Alexander Schindler

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Alexander Schindler

Alexander M. Schindler (1925–2000) was a rabbi and the leading figure of American Jewry and Reform Judaism during the 1970s and 1980s.

Born in Munich, Germany, he came to America at age 12 with his parents, Eliezer Schindler (a Yiddish poet of note) and Sali Hoyda Schindler; and his sister Eva (Oles). He was one of the last European-born leaders of American Reform Jewry. He served in the US Army's 10th Mountain Division US Alpine Ski Patrol in Europe as a corporal,[1] then in the US Army artillery - and distinguished himself in war with three combat ribbons for bravery, a Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star.[2]

As an artillery spotter near the Yugoslav border at the end of World War Two,[3] he was motivated to take up social issues after seeing Jews emerge from Auschwitz concentration camp.[4]

Rabbi Schindler served as Assistant Rabbi and later Associate Rabbi of Temple Emanuel (the congregation that produced his successor at the UAHC, Eric Yoffie) in Worcester, Massachusetts from 1953 to 1959.[5]

He served as president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (since renamed the Union for Reform Judaism) from 1973 to 1996. According to the official website of the Union for Reform Judaism, he 'prodded the Reform Movement to participate fully in the Zionist world and was a prime mover in the creation of ARZA and ARZA Canada.'[6]

His best-known, and most-controversial, pronouncements were his call for Jews to accept Patrilineal Descent (recognizing as Jewish, children of Jewish fathers) and "outreach" to non-Jews. He intended this to include general proselytizing to non-Jews, but in practice this applied to non-Jews married to Jews.

He served as chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

External links

  • JTA obituary
  • Obituary in Christian Century.

References

  1. ^ Source: this encyclopedia entry on Alexander Schindler, accessed 2014-03-05.
  2. ^ According to this biographical website, accessed 2014-03-05.
  3. ^ According to this biographical website, accessed 2014-03-05.
  4. ^ According to this biographical website, accessed 2014-03-05.
  5. ^ Feingold, Norma and Sadick, Nancy. Temple Emanuel 1921-1996 75th Anniversary. Published by Temple Emanuel, 280 May Street, Worcester, Mass. 1996.
  6. ^ Source: The official website of the Union for Reform Juddiasm, page on Alexander Schindler, accessible here, accessed 2014-03-05.
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