August 11th, 2005

Work

Leo Baeck wrote his major work “The Essence of Judaism” while he was rabbi in Oppeln. This is a classical monument to liberal Jewish theology. It is a plea for the recognition of Judaism and also an exercise in creating a theological system from the ideas of liberal religious Jewry. In his view Jewish moral law is the supreme expression and deepest form of moral philosophy, the very epitome of human morality, and consequently practising it is the supreme goal of human perfection. Baeck is revered in modern Judaism as the "saint of Theresienstadt". The Leo Baeck Institute was founded in New York in 1954 in homage to the great scholar. Its purpose was to conduct research into the history of German-speaking Jewry. Today there are also branches of the Institute in Jerusalem and London.

In 1956 the association representing reform synagogues in Great Britain established Leo Baeck College in London to teach Jewish theology.

In Berlin a street and a Jewish home for the elderly are named after him.

Since April 1999 the building which once housed the Academy for the Science of Judaism – at no. 9, Tucholskystrasse in Berlin – has been the seat of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. It bears the name Leo Baeck House.