Paul Lazarus, who was born in Duisburg in 1888 became Wiesbaden’s last liberal rabbi after finishing his military service as chaplain in Macedonia during World War I. He retired when he was 50 and immigrated to Palestine. His rabbinate was characterized primarily by his progressive approach to young people’s education, his open-mindedness and his cooperation with Wiesbaden’s neo-Orthodox Jewish Community (Altisraelitische Kultusgemeinde).
The Lazarus bequest – which is incomplete – contains: (1) private documents and letters, particularly farewell letters and speeches upon the occasion of his retirement. (2) His extensive correspondence in connection with his position as district rabbi responsible for religious education in public schools. (3) His activities in planning the commemoration of the anniversary of Abraham Geiger’s appointment as Wiesbaden’s first reform Rabbi in 1832. (4) His active support for the Jewish Education Centers founded by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig [Jüdisches Lehrhaus] and their offshoot in Wiesbaden. (5) His many undertakings as a liberal rabbi in Haifa-Hadar after immigrating to Palestine; as a representative of the liberal rabbis to the World Conference of Progressive Judaism (London); his involvement in the question of “the relation/separation of state and religion” in connection with the active discussion of a possible Israeli constitution which never came into being.

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