Dow Marmur

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Dow Marmur

A few months before I finished my five year course of studies at the Leo Baeck College in London (1957-1962), I was invited by the South-West Essex Reform Synagogue in North-East London to succeed Rabbi Alan W. Miller who had left for the Society for the Advancement of Judaism in New York. I spent seven very happy years there before transferring to North-Western Reform Synagogue in the Golders Green area of London, the congregation of which Leo Baeck had been Honorary President when he was liberated from Theresienstadt.

I came to Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto in 1983 to succeed Harvey Fields. I retired from there in 2000 and have been the congregation’s Rabbi Emeritus ever since.

While in Britain I chaired both the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and the Council of Reform and Liberal Rabbis. In Canada I did a term as President of the Toronto Board of Rabbis. I was the founding chair of ARZENU and I also chaired both its British (Pro Zion) and Canadian (Kadima, now ARZA Canada) constituents.

In 2000-2001 I served as the Interim Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism with which I had been associated since my student days in London.

The first book I authored (Beyond Survival) appeared in 1982 in Britain where I also edited two volumes of essays (Reform Judaism, 1973, and A Genuine Search, 1979). The Star of Return was published in the United States in 1991. Four other books were published in Canada (Walking Toward Elijah, 1988; On Being a Jew, 1994; Choose Life, 1999 and Six Lives: A Memoir, 2004).  Between 1966 and 1970 I was the editor of the quarterly Living Judaism of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (as it was then called).

In addition to chapters in a number of books I was also a contributor to several journals, especially Manna in the UK and Viewpoints in Canada. In retirement I have been a columnist for the Toronto Star and the Canadian Jewish News.

I have an honorary doctorate from Regis College, a Fellowship from St Michael’s College and am a Senior Fellow of Massey College, all of the University of Toronto. Since 2007 I have been a bencher (board member) of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the governing body of Ontario’s almost 50,000 lawyers.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. Fredzia and I were married in Stockholm in 1956.  Our daughters Viveca and Elizabeth (Anthony Kessel; two children) live in England. Our son Michael (Sarah Bernstein; three children) lives in Israel and is the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Hebrew Union College.

Fredzia and I divide our time between our homes in Toronto and Jerusalem with regular stops in London.

Toronto, November 2011                                                                                              Dow Marmur