Teplitz, Saul I.

views updated


TEPLITZ, SAUL I. (1921– ), U.S. Conservative rabbi. Teplitz was born in Vienna, Austria, and was brought to the United States in 1922. He received a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1941 and was ordained in 1945 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he earned a D.H.L. in 1956 and a D.D. in 1971. He served as rabbi of Laurelton Jewish Center in Laurelton, n.y. (1944–60) and the Jewish Community Center of Harrison in Harrison, n.y. (1960–63) before becoming rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Woodmere, n.y. (1963, emeritus since 1991). He also served as chairman of the Board of Education of the Hebrew High School of the Five Towns and president of the Commission on Synagogue Relations, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. In addition, he was a judge for the Jewish Conciliation Board of America, and associate professor of homiletics at the Jewish Theological Seminary (1981–94). In 1975, he was named chairman of the Rabbinical Advisory Committee of New York uja-Federation, and chairman of the New York Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds in 1976. In 1978, he was elected vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

At the same time, Teplitz assumed national Jewish leadership positions as well, serving as chairman of the United Synagogue Youth Commission (1974–76), before becoming president of the Synagogue Council of America (1977–79). In 1978, he was elected president of the *Rabbinical Assembly. As president, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem *Begin to protest proposed amendments to the *Law of Return that would deny recognition in Israel of conversions performed by non-Orthodox rabbis anywhere. During his tenure in office, Conservative Judaism's Passover Haggadah: Feast of Freedom was published, as well as the second volume in the series Emet ve-Emunah: Studies in Conservative Jewish Thought, and a festschrift honoring ra executive vice president Wolfe *Kelman. He also created a Blue Ribbon Committee to develop a blueprint for the future of the ra and chaired the Task Force on Halachic Guidance and Conservative Ideology. In 1982, he was the recipient of the Louis Marshall Award from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Teplitz wrote Life is for Living (1970) and The Courage to Change (1999). He also edited The Rabbi Speaks, two volumes of sermons for the New York Board of Rabbis, and Best Jewish Sermons, 11 edited volumes of selected sermons.

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]