Rabbi Richard Hirsch, Chairman of the Zionist General Council of the World Zonist Organization, Selected to Light One of the Torches at the Ceremony on Mt Herzl  in Jerusalem Opening Israel`s 62nd Anniversary Celebrations on 19th April

March 22, 2010 / 7 Nissan 5770


Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch is Honorary Life President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international organization of the Reform movement with affiliates in over thirty countries, and headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.

Since 1970 Rabbi Hirsch has been an active leader in the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization. He presently serves as Chairman of the Zionist General Council. He previously served as Co-Chairman of the Jewish Agency's Commission on the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He was elected President of the 33rd World Zionist Congress.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1926, Rabbi Hirsch graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1947. From 1949-1950 he studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was ordained in 1951 at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, receiving the degree of Master of Hebrew Letters with honors.

From 1951-1953 Hirsch served Temple Emanuel, Chicago, Illinois, and from 1953-1956 Temple Emanuel, Denver, Colorado. From 1956-1961 he was Director of the Chicago Federation and Great Lakes Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Rabbi Hirsch was the Founding Director of the Reform movement's Religious Action Center in Washington, DC, which he served from 1962-1973.

In 1973 Rabbi Hirsch moved to Israel to become Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Rabbi Hirsch has been called the architect of Reform Zionism and the world-wide movement for Progressive Judaism. He was the prime mover in affiliating Reform Judaism to the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel. He is responsible for the establishment of Beit Shmuel and Mercaz Shimshon on the expanded campus of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. In recognition of his efforts the Hirsch Theatre was named in honor of him and his wife.

Rabbi Hirsch is a frequent contributor to various publications in English and Hebrew, and is the author of five books on the application of Judaism to contemporary social problems: Judaism and Cities in Crisis; There Shall be no Poor; The Way of the Upright; Thy Most Precious Gift; and From the Hill to the Mount – a Reform Zionist Quest.

He and his wife Bella, have a daughter, three sons and eleven grandchildren

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220;
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780
website: www.jewishagency.org



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22 Mar 2010 / 7 Nisan 5770 0