W. Gunther Plaut is one of Reform Judaism’s most acclaimed twentieth century rabbis and scholars. He is a gifted writer and intellectual whose ideas garner devotees throughout the world. Eight Decades: The Selected Writings of W. Gunther Plaut is a selection of his previously published articles and essays. They include discussions on history, biblical topics, literature and linguistics, theological questions, moral and social issues, perspectives on Reform Judaism, legal issues, and Israel. First published in magazines as diverse as Maclean’s, Atlantic, Commentary, Reconstructionist, Ontario Medical Review, Hebrew Union College Annual, and many others, each essay carries a unique message that is still relevant today. Eight Decades is a fitting companion to One Voice: The Selected Sermons of W. Gunther Plaut, published in 2007 on the occasion of his ninety-fifth birthday.
W. Gunther Plaut was born in Germany, but in 1935 fled the Nazis for the United States, where he became a rabbi. He was President of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and from 1978 to 1985 served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Rabbi Plaut received nineteen honorary degrees and was a Companion of the Order of Canada. He published twenty-five books, including his magnum opus: The Torah: A Modern Commentary. Rabbi Plaut passed away in February 2011.
Jonathan V. Plaut, who wrote the introduction. is the spiritual leade rof Temple Beth Israel in Jackson, Michigan. Prior to this, Rabbi Plaut led Congregation Beth El in Traverse City, Michigan, where he is now Rabbi Ermeritus. He is the author of The Jews of Windsor 1790-1990: A Historical Chronicle and is the editor of One Voice: The Selecte Sermons of W. Gunther Plaut and The Plaut Family: Tracing the Legacy.