The World Union mourns the passing of Jerry Tanenbaum Z”L, a long-time supporter and leader of the World Union and our global Movement. Jerry served as WUPJ Senior Vice President, on the WUPJ Management Committee, on the North American Advisory Board, and chaired the WUPJ Yad B’Yad Task Force. In 1988, Jerry received an Honorary Life membership to the WUPJ Executive Board, and in 2000, Jerry was honored with the WUPJ’s highest honor, the International Humanitarian Award.
Below are reflections on Jerry’s impact and legacy as shared by our leadership, regions, and partners:
Jerry was one of a kind – a mensches mensch a human’s human – he was indeed betzelem Elohim – made in YHVH image. He answered “Hinenini” (i am HERE) to our dear friends in South America and all over the world. His leadership in the WUPJ was legendary, his heart so big I don’t understand how it fit in his chest. He taught me and mentored me in WUPJ – and he loved without limit. The world has lost a giant of a man. Ina Bauman and I love you and your memory is a blessing for us and all. — Steven Bauman, NAAB member
Jerry was a dear friend to many, including me; we worked together on so many projects over more than two decades. I admired him for his commitment to equality and service to the Jewish community and all people, locally, nationally, and throughout the world. He touched and enriched so many souls through his actions and his booming voice. Because of Jerry, the world truly a much better place. He was a beautiful role model, and he will be missed! He remains with us in memory, and that is a blessing. — Steve Bresulauer, NAAB member
> From the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ):
Condolences to the family of URJ North American Board Honorary Trustee B.J. “Jerry” Tanenbaum, Jr.
While serving on the URJ North American Board, Jerry was an active member of many committees, including the URJ Board Alumni Committee, the World Jewry Committee, the Task Force Working with the Argentinian Jewish Community, and the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp Committee. Jerry had served as a URJ North American Board Honorary Trustee since 1999.
In the words of Rabbi Richard “Dick” Hirsch:
Jerry was an unforgettable character. He was “achad b’mino” one of a kind, unique. In my entire experience with our Progressive-Reform movement there was no one so committed, so concentrated, so single minded, so loyal, so stubborn. He was loyal to the cause, and he was loyal to the people who committed their lives to the cause. When it came to the Progressive movement in Latin America, Jerry was the most dedicated lay leader we ever had. He inspired others with his advocacy, and he mobilized support. He was fortunate to have Pat z”l as his beloved life partner who always stood with him and who shared his views and activities with pride. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be in his company. He was firm in his opinions, but with a jovial personality.
> From the União do Judaísmo Reformista AmLat (UJR-AmLat):
> The Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion shared this detailed obituary about Jerry’s life.
May his memory be for a blessing.