Goudeket, Maurits

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GOUDEKET, MAURITS (1912–1989), rabbi and leader of Progressive Judaism in the Netherlands and Curaçao. Dr. "Mau" Goudeket, who had been active in the Resistance, was a young physicist when he came out of hiding after the Holocaust. He immediately rode by bike to Levi Levisson, prewar Liberal Jewish leader in The Hague, and urged him to reestablish the Liberal Community. Goudeket had been an active member in prewar Amsterdam; he had great knowledge of Judaism and saw the reestablishment of the community as a crucial issue. In 1946 however, Mau, his wife Riek and their infant son moved to Willemstad, Curaçao, where he had accepted a job both as a teacher in physics at the local high school and as the new religious leader of the Reform congregation, Temple Emanu-El. This moribund community had lived in splendid isolation from mainstream developments in Reform and Liberal Judaism for about a century. Goudeket, functioning as its rabbi, revived the congregation and it became a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. In 1960 the Goudeket family returned to Amsterdam, where Goudeket became rector of the Spinoza Lyceum and, later on, advisor in educational affairs to the Amsterdam city council. He was soon chosen president of the Union of Liberal Religious Jews in the Netherlands and, two years later, president of the Liberal Congregation of Amsterdam after its first postwar leader Louis Jacobi stepped down. Goudeket rose to leading positions in the World Union for Progressive Judaism and, together with Rabbi Jacob *Soetendorp in Amsterdam and Robert A. *Levisson in The Hague, guided the Liberal Jewish community through a period of explosive growth during the 1960s and early 1970s. Three additional congregations were founded. Goudeket realized that a younger generation of rabbis had to be brought to the Netherlands and personally coached the young rabbi David Lilienthal. In the late 1970s Goudeket became president of Joods Maatschappelijk Werk (Jewish Social Work) in the Netherlands, the first Liberal Jew chosen for such a position. He played an important role in the European Council of Jewish Community Services.


Levend Joods Geloof, 35:7 (1989); ibid., 48:3 (2002).

[Chaya Brasz (2nd ed.)]

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