Announcing "Eugene B. Borowitz: Rethinking God and Ethics"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Eugene B. Borowitz: Rethinking God and Ethics, edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (Arizona State University) and Aaron W. Hughes (University of Rochester), with an introduction by Michael L. Morgan, presents influential essays by Dr. Borowitz and explains his contribution to Jewish religious thought in the 20th century.  Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz, D.H.L, Ed.D., serves as Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Education and Jewish Religious Thought at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he has taught since 1962.  

A rabbi, teacher of rabbis, and a theologian, Dr. Borowitz has been an important spokesperson for non-Orthodox forms of Judaism, Reform Judaism in particular. Over seven decades, Borowitz has explored the centrality of God in Jewish existence, the normative force of Jewish law, the meaning of the Covenant, the distinctiveness of Jewish life, and the meaning of Jewish personhood for non-Orthodox Jews. Adopting the language of religious existentialism, he has reflected on the relational nature of human existence, on the one hand, and human self-determination on the other. 

Eugene B. Borowitz is the much honored "dean" of American Jewish philosophers. For his contributions to Reform Judaism, the Union for Reform Judaism awarded him its Eisendrath Prize at its 2005 biennial convention. HUC-JIR appointed him "Distinguished University Professor," the Jewish Publication Society included him in its Scholars of Distinction series by publishing a selection of his papers over the past fifty years, and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture awarded him its medal for lifetime Jewish Cultural Achievement for his work in the field of Jewish thought.

Dr. Borowitz is a prolific author, having written hundreds of articles on various aspects of Jewish religious thought. He is the only Jew to have been President of the American Theological Society. In 1982, Harvard University Divinity School invited him to inaugurate its newly established List Professorship of Jewish Studies. He wrote the comprehensive article on Judaism in the Encyclopedia of Religion. His 1974 work, The Mask Jews Wear, received the National Jewish Book Award in the field of Jewish thought. Rabbi Borowitz is widely known in the Jewish community as the former Editor of Sh'ma: The Journal of Jewish Responsibility, a magazine of Jewish social concern he founded in 1970 and edited for 23 years. He is active in Jewish publishing as a Life Trustee of the Jewish Publication Society. He has served as visiting professor of religion at: Columbia University, Princeton University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, City College of the City University of New York, Drew University, Temple University, Teachers College of Columbia University, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Woodstock College (the Jesuit graduate school of theology). He has addressed many national and international Jewish gatherings as well as various academic and interfaith conferences.

Rabbi Borowitz received his Bachelor's degree from Ohio State University. He was ordained and received the first of his two earned doctor's degrees from HUC-JIR, the other being from Teachers College Columbia University. He has received honorary doctorates from Colgate University, Lafayette, and Gratz Colleges. He has served congregations in St. Louis, MO, and Port Washington, NY, and was a Navy Chaplain during the Korean War. Prior to his academic position, he was National Director of Education for Reform Judaism at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now URJ), editing its books, curricula, and educational periodicals.

 


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu