Fifty years ago, Rabbi Plaut was installed as the eighth senior rabbi of the congregation.
While he arrived in the summer of 1961, his installation was held on the weekend of December 3 to 5, a weekend of much pomp and ceremony. He continued to serve the congregation in that capacity until 1977, when he became Senior Scholar. While Rabbi Plaut is best known for his editing of a new Torah Commentary written from a liberal perspective, he also instituted several significant changes in the way the congregation observed Shabbat. He enhanced Friday night services with many innovations, including dance groups, rock and jazz services, notable guest speakers, and his own monthly current affairs lectures. Later he added an early family Kabbalat Shabbat service. To create more equality between boys and girls, he moved the observance of Bat Mitzvah from Friday night to Saturday morning. Rabbi Plaut initiated the early Saturday morning Torah Study class before services, a popular study session with the senior rabbi that continues to this day.
Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, his predecessor, installs Rabbi Plaut as Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple on Sunday, December 5, 1961. Bima guests on the right hand side from left to right include Premier of Ontario John Robarts, Rabbi Walter H. Plaut (brother of the Rabbi), Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath (President of UAHC and Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom from 1929 to 1943), Mayor Nathan Phillips, D. Lou Harris (President of the Congregation), and Senator David Croll.
Rabbi and Mrs. Plaut, Installation Dance