Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 107th Annual Convention of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis
March, 1996

V'chol mi she-oskin b'tsorchei tsibur b'emuna, ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu...yishlach b'racha v'hatslacha b'chol ma-asei y'deihem...

Pre-eminent among contemporary rabbis who have consecrated their time and their genius to the welfare of the community is our cherished colleague, Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler. As he prepares to retire from the office of President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis salute a true ish emunot by recalling some of the manifold achievements of this man who has demonstrated heroic faithfulness in the cause of Reform Judaism, Am Yisrael, Medinat Yisrael, and the pursuit of justice and of peace.

During the twenty-three years of his administration, Alexander M. Schindler built Reform Judaism into the largest synagogue movement in North America, creating many more opportunities for rabbinical service. He called for opening the doors of our synagogues to the disadvantaged, to the handicapped, to adolescents struggling to find their place in the world, to single parents, to non-Jewish spouses, and to estranged and questing Jews. He inspired us to welcome the unwanted and bade us to transform our congregations into truly caring communities.

Within the synagogue he insisted upon equal rights and privileges for those long disadvantaged or ignored: women, and especially women rabbis, and those who chose alternative life styles. He concerned himself with the situation of Jews in remote and declining areas. He labored ceaselessly to improve the Union's programs of education for children and adults, so that the study of Torah might again become the lifelong occupation of our people. To that end he commissioned the writing of a Torah commentary to address the needs of our Reform constituents. Time and again he stressed the obligation of Jews to adhere to Jewish ethical values and to commit ourselves to those observances which make for a distinctively Jewish way of life.

Whenever people suffered, Alexander M. Schindler anguished with them and searched for the means by which their burdens might be eased. For many years he championed the cause of Soviet Jewry. He was a dauntless champion in the struggle for civil rights, for women's rights, for gay rights, for the rights of victims of AIDS, for the rights of the hungry and the homeless and the maltreated, whatever their creed or their race. Under his leadership the Union fostered close ties with members of other faith groups, creating a coalition of decency in a pluralistic society. Throughout his years Rabbi Schindler has been a passionate lover of Zion, interpreting its vital interests, defending it against its detractors, sometimes calling it to account, always serving as its loyal advocate to the larger community. To serve in these areas and many more besides, Alexander M. Schindler drew upon his innate eloquence, his flair for poetic expression, his great heart, his affability, his bold vision, his keen acumen, and his unswerving integrity. Fittingly can it be said of him, B'chol beiti ne-eman hu.

THEREFORE, in grateful recognition of all that he has done for our Movement, for us, for Israel and for human kind,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis offers its profound thanks to Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler for his exemplary service and prays for his continued vigor of body and mind, so that for many years to come his preachments may challenge us and his wisdom guide us.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we convey our abiding appreciation to his beloved Rhea and their children and grandchildren (ken yirbu). We acclaim them for their unfailing encouragement, for their generous readiness to share Alex with the community, for their good humor and their loving companionship.

Maran di vi-sh'maya y'hei b'sa-adhon kol z'man v'idan.