Sicher, Gustav

views updated


SICHER, GUSTAV (Benjamin Ze'ev ; 1880–1960), Czech rabbi. Sicher abandoned his early activities in the medical profession to become a rabbi. His first rabbinical post was in the Jewish community of the Bohemian town of Nachod. After World War i he was appointed rabbi of the largest Jewish congregation in Prague, Praha Vinohrady, and in the early 1930s became chief rabbi of Prague. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Sicher immigrated to Ereẓ Israel, where he founded in Jerusalem a prayerhouse for Czech Jews and acted as rabbi for the patients of Hadassah Hospital. In 1947 he was recalled to Prague to the chief rabbinate of Bohemia. In this capacity he organized religious life in 51 communities reconstituted after the Holocaust. He also devoted himself to the enlargement of the Jewish Museum in Prague. Sicher's main literary work was the translation of the Pentateuch into Czech. In 1950, when religious marriages were legally invalidated in Czechoslovakia, Sicher was sworn by the prime minister, A. Zápotocký, to observe this law. In honor of his 75th birthday the Council of Jewish Religious Communities in Prague published a collection of "Jewish Studies" containing special essays and an appreciation of Sicher's literary work.


Věstnik żidovských náboženských obcí, 22 (1960), 23 (1961); Židovska ročenka (1960/61–1962/63) Jewish Studies; Essays in Honor of … Gustav Sicher (1955); P. Meyer et al., Jews in the Soviet Satellites (1953), index; R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen in Traenen… (1959), passim.

[Erich Kulka]