[b-hebrew] In Memoriam: Henry A. Fischel

Jill Vass jill.vass at gmail.com
Wed Mar 19 11:58:15 EDT 2008

yizkor '' nishmat Heinz Fischel labrachah

Henry A. Fischel

Born in Bonn, Germany in 1913, Henry A. Fischel was the son Anna (nee
Suessengut) and Adolf Fischel.

After completing secondary school in Bonn, he studied philosophy at the
University of Berlin, and Judaica at the Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des
Judentums, a liberal rabbinical seminary in Berlin. He was ordained as rabbi
in 1939, after having been detained for several months at a Nazi
concentration camp. He continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh,
in Scotland, and was awarded a PhD in 1945.

In 1941, he came to Canada, where he initially lived in a holding camp, and
served as rabbi for other refugees from Germany. For the next half century,
he held distinguished rabbinical and academic positions in Canada and in the
United States, including professorships at Brandeis University and at
Indiana University. He joined the faculty of Indiana University in 1961.

He published numerous books and articles exploring the relationship between
Jewish literature and the Hellenistic world, and was a pioneer in this area
of research. Among extensive academic honors and offices, he served as
president of the Society of Biblical Literature in Canada, and was awarded a
Guggenheim Fellowship.

He was a cherished husband and father, and a beloved teacher, colleague, and

An accomplished musician, he delighted his many friends and neighbors at
Meadowood Retirement Community with piano recital-talks. Among his other
hobbies, he was an avid chess player, a near-expert philatelist, and an
eager tennis player. As a student, he played soccer, and twice competed in
international boxing bouts, as a youth fly-weight.

He is survived by daughter, Antoinette Jourard of St. Augustine, Florida;
daughter Miriam Herman and son-in-law Marvin Sharp of Victoria, BC Canada;
nephew Robert Newhouser of New York, New York; five grandchildren, and five
great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Sylvia (nee Morris)
Fischel, and his sister Lotte Newhouser. His mother, nine uncles and aunts,
and three cousins perished in the Holocaust.

Memorial contributions may be made to the United Way.

Fueneral services will be held at Beth Shalom at 1 PM Friday, March 21, with
Rabbi Mira Wasserman officiating. Following interment services at the Beth
Shalom Garden at Valhalla, friends and family will gather to share
remembrances at Meadowood, in the lower level.

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