Page 135 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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ELLENSON / EUGENE B. BOROWITZ: A TRIBUTE
127
for the dissertation. When Borowitz assumed the position as
Director of Religious Education for the Union of American He­
brew Congregations, he agreed to switch to Columbia’s doctoral
program in Education and ultimately received an Ed.D. In 1962
Borowitz joined the faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion in New York, where he continues to serve
as Sigmund L. Falk Distinguished Professor of Jewish Education
and Religious Thought. His editorship of
Sh’ma: A Journal of
Jewish Responsibility
and his many writings, lectures, and teaching
positions have earned him a preeminent position as a contem­
porary Jewish religious thinker and leader.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Borowitz published numer­
ous articles in journals such as
Commentary, Judaism,
and
The
Journal of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
His impact
on the religious thought of the American Jewish community
was intensified by his publication of three books in 1968 and
1969. In one,
A New Jewish Theology in the Making,
Borowitz built
upon the foundations he had initially established in
A Layman’s
Guide to Religious Existentialism.
Whereas the latter book had pri­
marily focused upon non-Jewish theologians,
A New Jewish The­
ology in the Making
systematically presented and evaluated the
particularistic reality of a twentieth-century tradition of Jewish
religious thought. Borowitz took great care to describe this tra­
dition in all its richness and variety. By lucidly explicating the
thought systems constructed by the major Jewish theologians
of our era, Borowitz was able to illuminate the directions of
that tradition, reflect upon his own indebtedness to it, and lay
the groundwork for his own dissent from it. In
A New Jewish
Theology in the Making,
as well as in the other two works he
published in those years —
How Can a Jew Speak of Faith Today?
and
Choosing a Sex Ethic
— Borowitz argued that the religious
rationalism that dominated an earlier generation of Jewish
thinkers had come to an end. As Borowitz himself later testified
in
Renewing the Covenant
(1991), he had, at this stage in his de­
velopment, already come to reject his liberal predecessors’ as­
sertion that there was a conceptual core to Jewish religiosity
that had to serve as the foundation for Jewish theological re­
flection. Instead, in his own gropings to articulate a new non-
Orthodox theology, Borowitz incorporated into his thought
what he termed “a recognized truth in the general culture —