Stephen Fried spent three years covering one synagogue’s search for a new rabbi. He discovered what congregations want in a spiritual leader, and how they can survive the search.
What we will miss most is his voice. It was muscular and musical, with an accent that sounded vaguely British at first, but later revealed itself to be all-American, with leftover “aahs” from Boston. When Gerald Wolpe died May 18 at the age of 81, American Jews lost one of our greatest sermonizers, one of our most fascinating and challenging pulpit leaders, and a renaissance rabbi whose dramatic life yielded several distinct acts, each with its own powerful teaching moments.