Jakob J. Petuchowski [1925-1991]
Jakob Josef Petuchowski was born on July 30, 1925. He died on November 12, 1991. Born in Berlin, he and his family fled the Nazis escaping to England before the beginning of World War II. Petuchowski earned an undergraduate honors degree from the University of London where he was a student of Leo Baeck, president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. In 1948 Petuchowski emigrated to the United States. He was ordained and earned a doctorate at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He then served synagogues in West Virginia and Pennsylvania (1949 to 1955). From 1956 he was Professor of Rabbinics and Jewish Theology at Hebrew Union College, where he held the Sol and Arlene Bronstein chair of Judeo-Christian Studies. Petuchowski’s thinking had a significant impact on the Reform movement in the United States (Encyclopaedia Judaica [Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, 1972], 13:349). Petuchowski was the first rabbi and director of Jewish Studies at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He was a visiting professor at Tel Aviv University, Oxford University and Harvard University. He received honorary doctorates from Brown University and the University of Cologne. Petuchowski published 36 books and 620 scholarly articles written in English, Hebrew and German. His published works include Ever Since Sinai: A Modern View of Sinai (1961); Prayer Book Reform in Europe: The Liturgy of European Liberal and Reform Judaism (1968); Understanding Jewish Prayer (1972); Theology and Poetry: Studies in the Medieval Piyyut (1978); When Jews and Christians Meet (1986); and Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer (1998, posthumously).