From the Hill to the Mount
by Gad Nahshon
For many years Richard G. Hirsch has been dedicating his public life to one great mission: to the reform Zionist quest. Hirsch is the 'Grand Priest' of the modern Zionization process of the Reform movement. Hirsch belongs to the tribe of Reform 'Founding Fathers.' He is a pioneer of many new organizations within his own movement. Being a Zionist who lives in Jerusalem, Hirsch or Rabbi Hirsch never has compromised his Reform belief as to the issues of social justice and of course: 'Religious Pluralism.' He is a member of the Jewish Agency Leadership and is the founding father and until recently, the president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
In 1973 he transferred the headquarters of this International Reform body to Jerusalem. Rabbi Hirsch published a book (Gefen, Jerusalem, 2000) which outlines his concept of Judaism and Reform Judaism. It is also documenting the great achievements of Rabbi Hirsch in public life: From the Hill to the Mount - A Reform Zionist Quest.
Rabbi Hirsch was born in 1926 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was ordained as a Reform Rabbi in 1951. He was always active in public life and helped Martin Luther King in his struggle for liberty. In the same manner he fought for the liberation of the Soviet Jewry. Rabbi Hirsch believes that the message of Judaism is to struggle for social justice. Therefore he established the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. which helped the African-American community to achieve a true equality in America. He was, for 25 years, the head of the World Union for Progressive Judaism which has 70 branches all over the world and, of course, in Israel.
In order to establish a reform movement in Israel, Rabbi Hirsch established the Zionist Reform movement or 'Arza' which brought Olim to Israel and even established two Kibbutzim! Hirsch became a zealous Zionist and served also as the chairman of the Zionist General Council in Jerusalem.
This book exposes Rabbi Hirsch's great accomplishments and dedication to the people of Israel. He became a distinguished international celebrity. Also from 1987 to 1992, he served as the president of the 33rd World Zionist Congress. He is a man for all the seasons and a noted thinker of Judaism. He is a true leader of our people, a man with vision and values. Israel still does not accept his concept of Zionist-religious pluralism. But he hopes for a change, a compromise which will give Reform Jews the feeling that they can live in Israel as equal of their counter-parts, Sabras. They want to be Zionist, to live in Israel and enjoy a state of religious equality.
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