“I lived in Brussels and was an active lay member of CILB from 1978-1984 and represented them on the European Board of the World Union at the time. Dick (as he was known to all) was in the heyday of his leadership of the World Union during the eras of Ruth and Gerry Daniels, Rabbi Alexander Schindler, and later David Bellin and others of blessed memory.
Little did we anticipate, when planning for Brussels to host the meeting of the European Board in early October 1980, that the October 3rd bombing of WUPJ’s synagogue at Rue Copernic in Paris would result in the immediate return of French delegates to their community and cast a pall over Jewish communities near and far.
Having moved the Headquarters of the Movement to Jerusalem, our spiritual focal point and our activity focal point were the same and the blazing fire of Dick’s unswerving commitment to Israel as an anchor and a source of endless renewal despite the challenges there, encouraged us to go on with the meeting, to mourn for the dead, to commiserate with the wounded, to share our grief, solidarity and outrage.
Rabbi Hirsch affirmed the ko’ach for us to re-commit, to work tirelessly for a world in which the rights of Jews everyone remain indissoluble from a secure and peaceful Israel. Ki Mitziyon teyze torah, ud’var Adonai mi’Yerushalayim.
Blessings on his memory.”
Rabbi Dr Aviva Kipen
“Two brief remembrances of Dick Hirsch.
By coincidence, Dick was in London at the time of my ordination from the Leo Baeck College in 1984. That was our first meeting. He had brought copies of the Israel Progressive Movement’s first-ever siddur, hot off the press, and gave them as gifts to us ordinands. I’ll never forget his pride in the siddur and his hope in us as progressive rabbis.
Years later my wife and I met with Dick at Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem to shmooze, and he presented us with a second gift, a copy of his memoirs. Another moment of pride, so well-deserved as we sat in the midst of the extraordinary movement he had created through the strength of his will and the power of his beliefs.
He was a true spiritual exemplar to several generations of rabbis.
Zecher tzadik liv’rakhah.”
Rabbi Fred Morgan AM
“It’s hard to believe that anything nor anyone could turn off Dick, the man whose energy seemed inexhaustible driven by his love of Judaism and the Jewish people. And, of course, his love for his family and his friends.
I’ll always remember him telling me many times that a man is only happy if he eats the same breakfast with the same woman every morning.
The memory of your leadership will inspire and comfort for many years.”