Rabbi Gunther Plaut, 99, Reform leader

Rabbi Gunther Plaut

Rabbi Gunther Plaut, a major figure in Reform Judaism, died in Toronto at age 99. A former president of the Canadian Jewish Congress who wrote widely on human rights, Plaut often was quoted by media around the world on issues pertaining to Reform Judaism.

He published a volume of commentary on the Torah and Haftorah that has become the standard text used by the Reform movement; it took 17 years to write. In later years he turned to fiction, publishing two novels and a collection of short stories.

Plaut, a native of Germany who fled the Nazis in 1935 and came to the United States, held pulpits in Chicago and St. Paul, Minn., before moving to Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple, where he was spiritual leader from 1961 to 1977. He became the temple’s senior scholar in residence in 1978. — jta