Leo Baeck: Teacher of Theresienstadt

Albert H. Friedlander, Author Overlook Press $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-87951-393-1
In the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezin), rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1959), leader of German Jewry, served as teacher and comforter to fellow inmates. He survived the Holocaust and spent another decade as a guiding light of world Jewry, shuttling between London, New York, Ohio and Israel. In this penetrating critical-biographical study, Friedlander, a London rabbi, presents Baeck's philosophy of Judaism as an optimistic creed rooted in the ethical deed and in a God whose essence is moral law. In his polemics on Christianity, Baeck attacked a faith which to him seemed weakened by unholy political alliances. Equally controversial was his attempt to reintegrate Jesus and the Gospels into the Jewish tradition. Baeck, whose writings are expressed in a kind of metaphysical poetry, is not widely read today, so this thoroughgoing and illuminating study of his theology is particularly welcome. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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