Friedlander, Albert H(oschander) 1927-2004

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FRIEDLANDER, Albert H(oschander) 1927-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born May 10, 1927, in Berlin, Germany; died July 8, 2004, in London, England. Rabbi, educator, and author. Friedlander was a prominent leader in the Jewish community who, among his many other accomplishments, was known for his efforts to encourage dialogue and reconciliation between Germany and those they had persecuted in the Holocaust. His family fled Germany after the Nazi-led Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938, making their way to America via Cuba and settling in Mississippi. Friedlander resolved to become a rabbi, earning a degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1946 and then studying at Hebrew Union College, where he received a B.H.L. in 1950; he was ordained in 1952. He then served as a rabbi for the United Hebrew Congregation in Arkansas for four years, followed by several more years at Temple B'nai Brith in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he was also an instructor in philosophy at Wilkes College. During the early 1960s, Friedlander was a chaplain and student counselor at Columbia University, as well as working at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons; while at Columbia, he earned his doctorate in 1966. That year, he moved to London, England, where he accepted a post as rabbi for the Wembley Liberal Synagogue and taught at Leo Baeck College. He also served as senior rabbi at Westminster Synagogue from 1971 to 1997. At Leo Baeck, Friedlander became director in 1971 and dean from 1982 until his death. Throughout his life, he was known as a compassionate man who wished to build bridges between the Jewish community and those who had persecuted them, and he often wrote about the Holocaust, including in the works The Death Camps and Theology within the Jewish-Christian Dialogue (1985) and The Six Days of Destruction (1988), which he wrote with Elie Wiesel. He also attended interfaith conferences, and worked to build understanding between the Liberal and Reform branches of Judaism. This spirit of understanding can be seen in such works as A Thread of Gold: Journeys towards Reconciliation (1990), and in his work with the Council of Christians and Jews, for which he was made second Jewish president in 1999. He also served as a consultant and contributed to programs such as Words of Faith, which aired on the British Broadcasting Corp.'s World Service. As a scholar, Friedlander was admired, most especially for his writings about his mentor, Rabbi Leo Baeck, whose This People Israel: The Meaning of Jewish Existence Friedlander translated in 1965. He was also the author of Leo Baeck: Teacher of Theresienstadt (1968) and Leo Baeck: Leben und Lehre (1973). Much honored for his important interfaith work, Friedlander was awarded the German Order of Merit in 1993 and made an honorary member of the Order of the British Empire in 2001.



Independent (London, England), July 10, 2004, p. 44.

Times (London, England), July 16, 2004, p. 35.