February 11, 2013
Rabbi David Hartman, Jewish philosopher, dies at 81
Rabbi David Hartman, one of the great Jewish philosophers of his generation and the founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute, died on Feb. 10, 2013, at 81. Hartman is considered one of the leaders of liberal Orthodoxy, and his philosophy influenced Jews both in Israel and around the world.
After serving as a pulpit rabbi at several important congregations in North America, including Congregation Tiferet Beit David Jerusalem in Montreal, Hartman, inspired by the Six Day War, made aliyah with his wife and children. For more than two decades, he served as a professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1977-1984 he was an advisor to Minister of Education Zevulun Hammer and acted as an advisor to many prime ministers on the issues of religious pluralism in Israel and the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.
Hartman’s writings explore the intersection of the traditions of the past and the challenges of the present. At its foundation stands a request for dialogue with the tradition on one hand, and with modern streams of thought on the other.
His philosophy was concisely tied up in Hartman’s contribution to the book of essays, “I am Jewish,” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003). He ended his essay: “The historical narrative develops a sense of intimacy with the Jewish people. Through it we become a family and embrace our particular identity with joy and love. But the family narrative is not our only living framework. Every seventh day we interrupt the flow of our tasks and ambitions and stand quietly before God the Creator. The dialectic between our particular and universal identities, between the God of Israel and the God of Creation, is the fate and challenge of being a Jew.”
Source: Shalom Hartman Institute.
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY REFLECTS ON RABBI DAVID HARTMAN