In Memory of Milton Steinberg


Rabbi Milton Steinberg, who led Park Avenue Synagogue from September 1933 until his untimely death at age 46 on March 20, 1950, was deeply beloved by our congregation and greatly admired by rabbinic colleagues and scholars. In the October 19, 1951 edition of The Reconstructionist, Rabbi Simon Noveck, who succeeded Rabbi Steinberg on the PAS bimah, wrote that Steinberg’s more than 1,000 pages of published sermons, sociological and theological writings, and fiction “constitute a kind of spiritual legacy… for our generation.” Noveck continues:
His purpose was less to inform than to awaken the mind, not so much to teach as to have the listener learn by being intellectually creative. Therefore he never gave a conclusion, but always presented alternative possibilities, sharing his thoughts with the audience until his point of view gradually unfolded.
Although the Shapiro Archive does not contain recordings of Rabbi Steinberg speaking from the pulpit (the audio taping began in 1954 with the opening of the Milton Steinberg House) it does include sermons and remarks by many renowned scholars who paid tribute to Rabbi Steinberg on his yahrzeit. Listen below to a selection of excerpts:

Dr. Abram L. Sachar on “The Pentateuch of Life”

Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan on “The Contribution of Reconstructionism to World Jewry”

Dr. Seymour Siegel on “Milton Steinberg – Thinker, Writer, Leader – 20 Years After"

Mr. Arthur A. Cohen on “What Is Living and What Is Dead in the Thought of Milton Steinberg”

We hope you enjoy this piece of PAS history.