Rabbi Dr Sidney Brichto (21 July 1936 – 16 January 2009) was a British Liberal rabbi. He was born in Philadelphia into an immigrant Orthodox Jewish family. As an adolescent, he began to reject religious orthodoxy in favour of Progressive Judaism. He studied in New York, before being ordained in 1961. The same year he moved to England to do post-graduate work at University College London and also became Associate Minister of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood. In 1964 he became the first Executive Director of (as it was then) the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, now known as Liberal Judaism.
Brichto was also a prolific author, having written extensively in the Jewish and national press. His most recent project was the publishing of a series of new translations of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. The project is entitled "The People's Bible". Rabbi Brichto believes that the concept of God is more important than questions of his existence. Equally, the Bible is relevant not because of the veracity of its stories, but because of the morality of its myths. His translations aim to achieve accessibility as literature, and to do this, he controversially added sections to improve readability and removed large areas of non-consequential material to the appendices.
Published works include:
- "The New Testament" (A new translation and modern explanation, ISBN 0955383315)
- "Genesis" (the book of Genesis, ISBN 0-9537398-0-5)
- "The Conquest of Canaan" (the books of Judges and Joshua, ISBN 0-9537398-4-8)
- "Samuel" (the two Books of Samuel, ISBN 0-9537398-1-3)
- "Song of Songs" (the books The Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther, ISBN 0-9537398-2-1)
- "St. Luke & The Apostles" (the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles, ISBN 0-9537398-3-X)
- "The Genius of Paul" (the letters of Paul, ISBN 0-9537398-5-6)
- "Moses" (divided into "Book 1: Moses, Man of God" and "Book 2: The Laws of Moses") (the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, ISBN 0-9540476-8-0)
- "Apocalypse" (Gospel of John and Book of Revelation, ISBN 0-9540476-9-9)
Rabbi Brichto also wrote a guide to Jews and Jewish life, "Funny... you don't look Jewish" (ISBN 1-899044-00-0) in which he explores, among other things, anti-Jewish prejudices against the reality of Jewish culture and life.
His autobiography, 'Ritual Slaughter: Growing Up Jewish in America' (ISBN 0-954-04761-3), provides detailed information of Rabbi Brichto's upbringing and move away from Orthodoxy.
He was married to Cathryn and has a daughter and three sons.
- Rabbi Dr Brichto's own website provides information about much of the above.
- A history of Liberal Judaism can be found here
- Review by Mary Kenny in the Daily Express, 3 May 2000