Schindler, Alexander M. Papers
Span Dates: 1961-1996
Bulk Dates: 1973-1996
Volume: 10.4 linear ft.
Rabbi Schindler's papers contain contemporary perspective on many, if not most, of the key social and cultural issues facing American Jewry and American society from the 1960s to the 1990s. The collection reflects the involvement of the UAHC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations -- as well as that of Alexander M. Schindler-- in these causes and movements. Papers consist primarily of correspondence, but also contains speeches and eulogies given by Schindler. In particular, Box 4, folders 8 - 10 concern Gay Rights specifically and boxes 8 and 9 cover gay rights generally from 1973-1998. Box 10 covers gay rights as it pertains to the Boy Scouts, from 1992-1994.
Born in Germany in 1925, Schindler fled the Nazis with his family, arriving in the U.S. when he was 12 and earned the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three combat ribbons during World War Two. He graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1949, studied for the rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College where he graduated with a rabbinical ordination in 1953.
After serving congregations, he became the national director of education of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) in 1963. In 1967, Rabbi Schindler became the vice president of the UAHC and in 1973 its president. Viewing Judaism as a dynamic faith that evolves through its dialogue with tradition, Rabbi Schindler insisted particularly on the necessity of recognizing the full equality of women in Jewish religious life. He was an outspoken proponent of the rights of gays and lesbian Jews to full participation in the synagogue, including the right to rabbinical ordination.
Rabbi Schindler¹s religious commitments and insight were captured in The Torah: A Modern Commentary, a major work published under his aegis when he served as the UAHC's National Director of Education. It is the first Torah Commentary to have been written from a Reform perspective.
Rabbi Schindler died in 2000, survived by wife and five children.
An online finding aid and inventory is available at the following web address. Follow the link to the inventory. The identifying number for this collection is Manuscript Collection # 630
The American Jewish Archives are located at Hebrew Union College, 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jewish (ethnic, Reformed, Reconstructionist, Orthodox) | Activist (religious institutions) | Clergy Activist