“As a delegate to the World Zionist Congress, 1987 in Jerusalem, I had the pleasure and life changing opportunity to personally meet Rabbi Hirsch. During that time, he took me to the building site of Beit Shmuel, and gestured as to the embracing and sweeping view that the grand glass walled room of the building would have of the Old Walled City. It was at that moment, that I internalized what WUPJ was all about, and how it was a legitimate fit into the life and history of Israel and world Reform Judaism.
In my journey with the WUPJ, Rabbi Hirsch awakened and imbued me with the passion, creativity, focus, fortitude and vision that one needs to journey through the different structures and nuances of each of the countries where the WUPJ exists. As well, he with lazar vision, shined the light on the importance of the fund raising needed to make the goals and objectives of the WUPJ a reality.
Most of all, Rabbi Hirsch, exuded his warmth, caring, sensitivity and joy that he carried within. This was my guide and example as I explored and engaged in the many opportunities to work with the WUPJ. Last, but not least, his sense of humor was an example on how any situation can be turned from pain to hopeful resolution.”
Diane F. Marcus
“My first encounter with Rabbi Hirsch was in 1975 when as a 20 year old college junior I was in the UAHC- HUC CAY (College Academic Year Program) on Kibbutz Maaeleh Ha Hamisha. Rabbi Hirsch came to meet with us and my memory of that meeting was that he was the first Reform Rabbi who I ever heard tell us that we should consider making Aliyah. And he told us about the plan already in place to start the Reform Kibbutz which later came to be called Yahel.
My second encounter took place in 1977 in San Francisco during the UAHC Biennial. During the Biennial a decision took place to create a Zionist entity and join the WZO- ie the decision to create ARZA. During the debate in which there was a fairly strong opposition, Dick spoke eloquently of course in support but additionally gave passionate criticism of the Reform Movement for not being Zionist enough- those of us like me from Garin Arava who planned to found Kibbutz Yahel were worried that he was causing more opposition- but it all worked out.”
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David Bernstein | Deputy Director General IMPJ – Development and Overseas Relations
“Dick’s and I spent untold hours together during my tenure with the World Union. His door was always open to me, and I feel very blessed to benefit from his abundant wisdom, experience, drive and vision. I also treasure the memories of the evenings, Bella, Dick, Vickie and I spent together. His contribution to the development of Progressive Jewish life is incalculable.”
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs | WUPJ Former President