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Blumenthal, Aaron H.

BLUMENTHAL, AARON H.

BLUMENTHAL, AARON H. (1908–1982), U.S. Conservative rabbi. Blumenthal was born in Montreal, Canada, and received his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1932. He served as a chaplain during World War ii, eventually becoming head of the Chaplaincy Commission of the Jewish Welfare Board. Most of Blumenthal's rabbinic career (1946–73) was spent as spiritual leader of Congregation Emanuel, Mount Vernon, n.y., where he was an outspoken advocate of civil rights and busing. For more than three decades (1948–82), Blumenthal was a leading member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, writing many halakhic responsa for the Conservative movement. He was also known for his minority opinions, which early on favored equality for women in being called to the Torah (aliyot), counted towards a minyan, and ordained as rabbis. Blumenthal was elected president of the Rabbinical Assembly in 1956. He wrote two books: If I Am Not for Myself: The Story of Hillel (1973) and And Bring Them Closer to Torah (published posthumously in 1986) edited by his son david (1938– ), also a Conservative rabbi and a distinguished scholar at Emory University, who has written on post-Holocaust theology and ethics in such works as Facing the Abusing God (1993) and The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition (1999).

bibliography:

P.S. Nadell, Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1988).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]

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