It is very hard to give the highlights of a career as varied and in many ways groundbreaking as mine has been, from the first Sabra Reform rabbi to study in the States and return to make his rabbinic career in Israel–1965–to the work which I now do with the Abraham Geiger (Rabbinic) Kolleg in Berlin, where I teach and otherwise work with students from all over Europe (since 2008).
After being a congregational rabbi in Ramat Gan, I also served for three years in Manchester, England — a normal rabbinate?! — and then returned to Israel to establish the Israeli Youth Movement and to guide the garin, which established the 2nd Reform kibbutz in the Arava, Kibbutz Lotan (one of the few to remain a “kibbutz” to this day).
Jerusalem called me home to become the rabbi of Har El Congregation (which I had helped to create together with my father, Schalom Ben-Chorin z”l and step-mother Avital, (sh’ti l’chaim aruchim) in 1958 and remained there for 14 years, with congregational and public responsibilities and reserve army duty, until wanderlust took us to Zurich, Switzerland and now to Berlin, where I have gained a totally different perspective on Jewish life and community.
High points: Seeing the Ethiopians arrive in Israel, as well as the Russian migration; teaching Judaism in a foreign language (German), known to me only as the language of my childhood; facing the reality of the “new” Jewish life in Germany; becoming a father and a grandfather.
All this, accompanied by my faithful and wonderful wife Adina, from HUC-JIR, Cincinnati until today. We have been married 51 years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Alma Mater for giving me the tools to be creative in what turned out to be a checkered career.