This great Rav’s final gift to his beloved people: In the last few years of his long, distinguished, and productive life, Rabbi Shimon Schwab, the famed and beloved spiritual leader of Khal Adath Jeshurun in Washington Heights, NY, taught Siddur to his congregants.
He was officially “retired,” but his mind and conscience never rested. Always a great thinker and teacher, he turned his attention to the Siddur, and drew his congregants along with him. A lifetime of learning, thought, piety, and perspective were poured into these stimulating and inspiring lectures. Rabbi Schwab was a product of two worlds: the Franfurt-am-Main of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and the Lithuanian Yeshivah. He absorbed both, blended both, molded them with his great intellect, profound faith, vibrant heart, and charismatic personality.
He was a rabbi in Nazi Germany until it became impossible for him to function. He was called to serve the German kehillah in Baltimore during an era when rabbis in America were expected to accommodate themselves to the times, but he did the opposite. He forced the times to accommodate themselves to the Torah -- and became a heroic figure in the American rabbinate. After a long and successful career in Baltimore, he joined Rabbi Joseph Breuer in the rabbinate of Khal Adath Jeshurun. History has come a full circle, as the scion of Frankfurt became the Rav of Khal Adath Jeshurun in New York, the successor of the famed Frankfurt kehillah.
He became the moral voice of American Orthodoxy, eloquently demanding integrity and idealism -- and succeeding because he made the same demands of himself. He always went upward, and drew his listeners after him.
Thanks to the diligence and devotion of Moshe Schwab -- the eldest son of the Rav, a talmid of Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, and a musmachof Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Ruderman zt”l of Yeshivas Ner Israel, Baltimore -- his father’s last teachings become the legacy of us all in this magnificent volume. Our daily conversations with the Creator will be immeasurably enriched, thanks to this book. No thinking Jew should be without it.