Marmur ‘On Being A Jew’

The Holy Blossom Temple has just published On Being A Jew: A Reform Perspective, a new book of writings (1994) by Rabbi Dow Marmur to mark his tenth anniversary as spiritual leader of the Temple, home of the largest Reform congregation in Canada.

“This book was the alternative to a dinner,” said Rabbi Marmur at a book launch that drew about 150 people to the Temple on a recent Sunday morning. “I don’t know if the book is as nourishing as a dinner might have been, but I’m pretty sure it’s less fattening.”

Marmur’s fourth book, On Being A Jew is an anthology of 25 essays, many of which appeared in journals such as Manna and Viewpoints. Subjects include “Should the Canadian Jewish Community Be Involved in Social Issues?”, “Is There A Future for Canadian Jewry?” and “How I Became a Rabbi.”

“The book contains many of the things that I’ve said and thought in the congregation in a variety of ways,” said Marmur. “The purpose is to offer some kind of summary of the kinds of concerns that have been mine in my first decade here.”

At the book launch, Marmur thanked Rabbi Gunther Plaut, rabbi emeritus at the Temple, for “many things, including putting me in the context of reform Judaism.

“I see it in my way as being at the crossroads. Reform Judaism can either become the normative Judaism of tomorrow, or it can become a sect. And I’d like to be among those who are going all out to make sure that it becomes the normative Judaism of tomorrow.”

Marmur also said that the Holy Blossom Temple is a “cathedral synagogue” that is prominent in the Reform movement and has great influence over other congregations. “People look to it,” he said. “If it can reflect what is true in Reform Judaism, without looking to the right or to the left, then there is hope for other congregations. That is, in fact, what is happening.” ♦

© 1994 by Bill Gladstone