Werner van der Zyl

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Rabbi Dr

Werner van der Zyl
Rabbi Werner van der Zyl.jpg
Personal
Born
Werner van der Zyl

11 September 1902[1]
Schwerte, Germany[2]
Died10 April 1984[3]
ReligionJudaism
NationalityGerman until 1939;
British
SpouseAnneliese
Children1 daughter: Nikki
DenominationReform Judaism
PositionDirector of Studies
OrganisationLeo Baeck College
Began1956
Ended1968
BuriedHoop Lane Jewish Cemetery, Golders Green
SemichaHochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, Berlin
Werner van der Zyl
Personal
ReligionJudaism
PositionSenior Rabbi
SynagogueWest London Synagogue
Began1958
Ended1968
Werner van der Zyl
Personal
ReligionJudaism
PositionMinister
SynagogueNorth Western Reform Synagogue, London
Began1943
Ended1958
Werner van der Zyl
Personal
ReligionJudaism
PositionRabbi
SynagogueNew Synagogue, Berlin
Began1935
Ended1938/9
Werner van der Zyl
Personal
ReligionJudaism
PositionRabbi
SynagogueRykestrasse Synagogue, Berlin
Began1932
Ended1935

Rabbi Dr Werner van der Zyl (Schwerte, Germany, 11 September 1902[1][5]Palma, Majorca, Spain, 10 April 1984)[3][4] was a rabbi in Berlin and in London, where he came in 1939[6] as a refugee rabbi from Germany. He was the prime mover and first director of studies of the Jewish Theological College of London. The college was inaugurated in 1956 and was renamed Leo Baeck College shortly afterwards at his suggestion.[4]

Career[edit]

Van der Zyl, who was also a trained chazan, received his rabbinical training at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin, where he was a pupil of Leo Baeck,[7] qualifying in 1933.[4] The University of Giessen awarded him a doctorate in 1931.[3] He was Rabbi at the Rykestrasse Synagogue, Berlin from 1932 to 1935 and at the New Synagogue, Berlin from 1935 to 1938/9.[1]

Van der Zyl came to Britain in 1939.[8] During World War II the British Government interned him at Kitchener Camp in Sandwich, Kent and then at Mooragh Internment Camp [1] on the Isle of Man[9] as an "enemy alien". He was released from internment in 1943 and became Minister at North Western Reform Synagogue, remaining there until 1958.[7] While serving as minister at North Western Reform Synagogue, and at the West London Synagogue, where he was Senior Rabbi from 1958 to 1968,[10] he oversaw the creation of the Jewish Theological College of London (later Leo Baeck College), sponsored by the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, and the College's subsequent additional sponsorship by the Liberal Judaism Movement.[11]

He retired in 1968 to Majorca where he held the post of honorary rabbi to the Jewish community in Palma.[4]

He was a founder and President of Leo Baeck College, London; President of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (now known as the Movement for Reform Judaism); and Life Vice President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Personal life[edit]

He was the father of artist, poet, public speaker and voice actress Nikki van der Zyl,[12] whose daughter-in-law Marie van der Zyl is President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.[13]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died in Palma, Majorca in 1984 and is buried at Hoop Lane Jewish Cemetery in Golders Green.[2]

An annual lecture is held in his memory at Leo Baeck College.[8][14] In April 2013 Leo Baeck College announced the appointment of Rabbi Maurice Michaels as its first Van der Zyl Head of Vocational Studies, a post named in honour of the College's founder.[15]

His family papers are held at the University of Southampton.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Van der Zyl, Nikki. "Rabbi Dr. Werner van der Zyl – Background". The World of Nikki van der Zyl. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b Sante Hanse, Britta; Klüh, Thomas (14 December 2010). "Renaming the so-called small market in Dr. Werner van der Zyl Square". Committee on Demography, Urban Development and Environment. Schwerte.de. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Jon Epstein & David Jacobs (2006). A History in our Time: Rabbis and Teachers Buried at Hoop Lane Cemetery. Movement for Reform Judaism. p. 23.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Rabbi Werner van der Zyl" (PDF). AJR Information. Association of Jewish Refugees. 39 (6): 9. June 1984.
  5. ^ Van der Zyl, Nikki. "Rabbi Dr. Werner van der Zyl – Photo Album". The World of Nikki van der Zyl. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Auschwitz Remembered: Nikki van der Zyl" (PDF). Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Aylth – History and Heritage". North Western Reform Synagogue. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  8. ^ a b "2013 Van Der Zyl Lecture". Calendar. Movement for Reform Judaism. 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  9. ^ "MS 297: Van der Zyl family papers, 1928–94". Special Collections: Manuscripts collections. University of Southampton. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  10. ^ "West London Synagogue of British Jews: Ministers of the Congregation". JCR-UK. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  11. ^ Magonet, Jonathan (Autumn 2012). "Rabbi Dr Werner Van Der Zyl and the Creation of Leo Baeck College. The German Rabbinate Abroad: Transferring German-jewish Modernity Into the World?". European Judaism. 45 (2): 103–111.
  12. ^ Meaker, Morgan. "Foy your ears only". Magazine. Kids of Dada. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  13. ^ Cooper, Zaki (19 May 2018). "Election marks sea change for British Jewry". The Times. Retrieved 6 June 2018. (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Event: 2012 Van Der Zyl Lecture: 'Rabbis: The Next Generation'". Events. Leo Baeck College. 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Van der Zyl Head of Vocational Studies". Movement for Reform Judaism. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  16. ^ "MS 297 Van der Zyl family papers, 1928–94". University of Southampton. Retrieved 11 April 2013.