“I was a first year rabbinical student at HUC in the Year in Israel program in Jerusalem in 2002. I had arrived to Jerusalem from two years of service for the JDC in the Jewish community in Poland. I met another rabbinical student, Ari (Poster) Moffic who had spent time in the Jewish community in Ukraine who was just as excited as me about what was happening there. We had an idea to start a program to bring HUC students to Reform communities in the Former Soviet Union, modeled after the Hebrew University Pesach Project. We were referred to Rabbi Joel Oseran at the WUPJ who helped to get the idea off the ground. He said, ‘You must go meet Rabbi Dick Hirsch’.
Rabbi Stacey Blank
“Rabbi Richard Hirsch – Dick to his friends (everyone!) – died today August 17 a few weeks short of his 95th birthday. I spoke with him briefly, a week ago (it was a struggle on his part because he was in the ICU and had a pipe down his throat) But he wanted to speak to me because he told me very directly “Leslie, my time has come and I want to say good bye to you” He said some other nice things. I choked and I choke as I write this. For this two minute conversation will stay with me the rest of my life as one of the greatest privileges I have ever had. The passing words to me of a great Jewish leader who I was honoured to have as a mentor and as a friend.