Arnold Jacob Wolf, signed by author
Here, in a long-awaited collection, are the most important writings from a lifetime of work by one of the most influential Jewish thinkers in American life over the last half-century. Arnold Wolf’s combination of religious traditionalism with political activism has placed him at the leading edge of Reform Judaism, whether as the navy’s only Jewish chaplain in the Far East, among the marchers at Selma, as Hillel director at Yale University, or in his Chicago-area congregations. ‘For decades’, writes Eugene Borowitz in his Foreword, ‘Arnold Jacob Wolf has been the finest English stylist in the American rabbinate. In the diverse fields that have engaged him, he has written with unique clarity, penetration, belief, and sophistication. His writing, as the Mindrash says of Revelation, “smashes against the ear”.’ Through the years Rabbi Wolf has used this gift to attempt to make God manifest in life, experimenting with prayer and ceremony long before ‘spirituality’ became a generation’s rallying cry. These selections from a wide range of his writings display his boldness of faith, his uncommon respect for students and congregants, and his rare qualities of humanity.