Temple Israel of Great Neck invites you to attend The Eleventh Rabbi Mordecai Waxman Memorial Program
Guest Speaker: Ted Deutch, AJC Chief Executive Officer
Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the CEO
Monday, April 24, 2023
Reception 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom
Presentation 7:45 p.m. in the Sanctuary
Kindly RSVP by April 20 by clicking here or calling the Temple Israel Office (516-482-7800).
Rabbi Mordecai Waxman (z”l) 1917-2002
was the heart of Temple Israel of Great Neck for more than 55 years. There is no facet of our synagogue’s existence that he did not affect or shape; and there were few members of our community whose life he did not personally influence. Rabbi Waxman’s achievements within the Conservative Jewish world—and in the world at large—mark him as the most distinguished Rabbi of his generation. It is fitting that we honor his memory at this Annual Waxman Memorial Program.
Rabbi Waxman grew in his years at Temple Israel to become the defining voice for Conservative Judaism, largely through a book he was responsible for, titled “Tradition and Change: The Development of Conservative Judaism,” published in 1958.
He also became the voice for his passion, which was improving relations for Judaism with other religions—in particular the Catholic Church. He struck up a genuine friendship with Pope John Paul II, which led to major changes in the way the Church sees Judaism today.
Rabbi Waxman was born in Albany in 1917—we are almost up to the date of his 106th birthday. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary. His father, Meyer, was a noted rabbinic scholar, author, and theology professor in Chicago. His mother, Sarah, was a high school teacher.
He used to chuckle years later at his mother’s wry comment on his future. With two law school scholarships in hand, he announced his intention to study for the rabbinate following in his father’s footsteps, rather than those of his mother’s family. She said: “Join the rabbinate and see America,” referring to the frequent changing of positions of rabbis. Surprisingly, he spent 55 years in just one place—Temple Israel. “From Great Neck I saw America and I saw the world,” he said.
Ted Deutch, a lifelong Jewish and pro-Israel activist, assumed the role of CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC) in October 2022, following more than 12 years of distinguished service in the United States House of Representatives. In Congress, Ted was a leading voice in the fight against antisemitism and efforts to advance the U.S.-Israel relationship. He was a founding member of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, and he served as chair of the House Ethics Committee and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he chaired the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee. Ted began his career in public service in the Florida State Senate, where he gained national recognition for passing the nation’s first law mandating that public pension funds not be used to advance Iran’s illicit activities. Prior to holding public office, he enjoyed a successful career as a commercial real estate attorney in Cleveland and Boca Raton. He served as a lay leader with the Jewish Federations of Cleveland and South Palm Beach County, and as a member of both UJA’s National Young Leadership Cabinet and AIPAC’s National New Leadership Network. Ted and his wife, Jill, have lived in Boca Raton, Florida, since 1998 and have three adult children, Gabby, Serena, and Cole.