Adult Education :: New Biography of Rabbi Schaalman
A Brand Plucked from the Fire: The Life of Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman.
The biography acknowledges his place in the development of twentieth century Reform Judaism. Born in Munich in 1916, he left Germany in 1935 to study at Hebrew Union College, Reform Judaism’s seminary in Cincinnati. Leaving behind the increasingly dangerous situation in Nazi Germany, he went on to become one of the most distinguished rabbis of his generation. Convinced that humankind’s future was related to the ability of people to accept and embrace “difference,” he has devoted his life to promoting interfaith understanding and dialogue. For this work, he has won numerous awards and achieved international recognition.
Ordained in 1941, he went on to serve as rabbi in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Eight years later, he moved to Chicago to take on the job of Midwest Regional Director for the Reform movement’s synagogue organization. A few years later, he became the senior rabbi of Emanuel Congregation. Through his work in educational, civic, and religious organizations, he became one of the most respected rabbis to serve Chicago’s Jewish community.
In the 1980s, he formed a warm friendship with Chicago’s Archbishop, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. So close was their friendship, that when Bernardin was on his deathbed, he asked Schaalman to participate in his funeral. It was the first time in history that a rabbi spoke at the funeral of a Cardinal.
Looking back over a lifetime of service, Schaalman, who is now ninety-seven, says his two most significant achievements are his work in establishing the first youth camp of the Reform movement, and his term as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Limited copies of A Brand Plucked from the Fire: The Life of Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman are located in the Emanuel office. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book, for a suggested donation of $36.00, please contact the office at 773-561-5173, and we can place one aside for you.
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