The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America joins with the people of the State of Israel in mourning the death of Dr. Yosef Burg, former Minister of Religious Affairs of Israel, a position among the many posts which he filled between 1948 and 1984.
Dr. Yosef Burg was one of the central pillars of the revival of the Jewish people in their homeland, the land of Israel. One of the foremost leaders in the religious Zionist movement, Dr. Burg’s love for Eretz Yisrael, Am Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael, the eternal values of the Jewish people, inspired the committment of several generations of Jews to the independence of the Jewish people in an Israel that reflects the highest ideals of our tradition.
Dr. Burg’s charismatic personality, the depth of his thought and creativity, his gifts for diplomacy and bridge-building among the many groups that comprise the Jewish people as well as his powerful gift for moving rhetoric-an exceptional ability to penetrate the heart with “devarim hayotzim min ha lev”- earned him the highest respect of all sections of the nation and our love and devotion.
We especially remember how Dr. Burg celebrated his 89th birthday with us at the Orthodox Union’s Jerusalem 3000 Convention in 1997 and the special effort he made to be with us that evening in spite of his not feeling well. At that time, he spoke of his special connection to the Orthodox Union and praised our many programs and the important work that we do at the Israel Center in Yerushalayim and for Klal Yisrael all across the globe.
Dr. Burg’s very special role as an exemplary leader of the Jewish people at a crucial time in the birth and growth of Medinat Yisrael and as a champion of our spiritual ideals have earned him a permanent place of honor in the memory of the Orthodox Union. We pray and hope that his memory will strengthen his family and that the leadership in Israel will find the strength and encouragement to continue to pursue his shining example in the goals of Torah v’Tzion, to which Dr. Yosef Burg so passionately dedicated his life.
May the Burg family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.