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Greenberg, Sidney

GREENBERG, SIDNEY

GREENBERG, SIDNEY (1917–2002), U.S. Conservative rabbi, writer, and liturgist. Raised in New York, Greenberg was the product of Yeshiva elementary school and of the Talmudical Academy. He graduated cum laude from Yeshiva University in 1938 and then attended the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he was ordained in 1942 and subsequently earned his D.H.L. His first pulpit was also his last. He went to a small storefront synagogue in Philadelphia which was to remain his home for 53 years as Temple Sinai grew into a prominent Conservative congregation. (He served as a U.S. Air Force chaplain from 1944–46.)

Greenberg conducted Sermon Seminars and Pastoral Care Workshops at national and regional rabbinic conferences for four decades, and published numerous books based on his own sermons and on his widely read newspaper columns in the Jewish and general press. He also compiled several popular anthologies drawn from Jewish and world literature, and wrote inspirational volumes for both Jewish and general audiences.

During the 1960s he collaborated with Rabbi Morris Silverman, editor of the Prayer Book Press, whose edition of the siddur and the maḥzor dominated Conservative Judaism for several decades, in compiling instructional and worship texts for children. When the Prayer Book Press became part of Media Judaica in 1971, Greenberg was invited to serve as co-editor (with Rabbi Jonathan D. Levine) of a new series of innovative liturgical works. The series began with Likrat Shabbat – the Kabbalat Shabbat service when Friday evening was still the most widely attended service in a Conservative Congregation, and eventually included Mahzor Hadash for the High Holidays, Siddur Hadash for Sabbaths and Festivals, and A Minyan of Comfort. The series combined Hebrew liturgy with new gender-sensitive translations, inspirational notes and meditations, new reading elaborating on the themes of the traditional liturgy, alternative texts, passages from classical and contemporary Jewish sources, and extensive transliteration. During the last quarter of the 20th century and the early 21st century as successive volumes in the series were issued (and achieved record levels of distribution for independently published Jewish liturgy), the content and form of Greenberg's work increasingly influenced the publications of others, issued under a variety of auspices and in various sectors of North American Jewry.

[Jonathan D. Levine (2nd ed.)]

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