Tuesday evening I got this email, entitled “Zero Degrees of Separation” from Michelle Lynn-Sachs, our former Director of Education:
“I’m at an exhibit at JTS (The Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC) about Rabbi Judah Nadich. He led the crew of Jewish chaplains in WWII – and guess who I spotted?”
Michelle attached a photo of the photo. She snapped the shot with her iPhone, so it’s a bit hazy. But among the chaplains gathered round Rabbi Nadich are Rabbi Plaut and my grandfather, Rabbi Ernst Lorge (z”l).
They knew each other in Germany. Both received the same good advice from Rabbi Leo Baeck and were taken in by Hebrew Union College. Both married “Cincinnati girls.” Both were proud to return to Germany wearing the uniform of the Jewish American chaplain. And both devoted a significant part of their rabbinates to fighting racism wherever it lurked.
So when I was fortunate enough to come to Holy Blossom Temple, it was with reverence for Rabbi Plaut, the Gadol HaDor, but also with reverence for Rabbi Gunter Plaut, who was a friend, classmate, and comrade to my grandfather when the world was on fire and they were both young and brave.
I forwarded the photo to my Grandmother, my mother and father, and my uncle, who’ve always admired Rabbi and Mrs. Plaut. Their enthusiastic responses came in on Wednesday. I was broken-hearted to tell them Thursday’s news.
Rabbi Yael Splansky