Rabbi Dr. Langner was born in Europe, the son and grandson of Rabbis, and raised in Toronto. He graduated from the University of Toronto with scholastic honors in 1944 and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1948, followed by a Doctorate of Divinity, Honoris Causa in 1975. He has been Beth-El’s spiritual leader from 1955 to 1989 and its Rabbi Emeritus since then.
He has held many positions of leadership within the Synagogue Community in Greater Montreal and is a co-founder of the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal. He has served as Chairman of the National Religious Department of Canadian Jewish Congress and Chaplain of the Jewish War Veterans and the Royal Legion of Quebec. Rabbi Dr. Langner holds many awards of distinction, including being proclaimed Honorary Citizen of TMR by its mayor and having been presented by the Governor General of Canada with the Commemorative Medal on the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada “in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada.”
Rabbi Dr. Langner always stressed that Conservative Judaism be defined as “tradition and change” and under his spiritual leadership, Congregation Beth-El was in the forefront of that interpretation. Beth-El was the first Montreal Congregation to introduce family seating at its service and observe Shabbat morning Bat Mitzvah, allowing girls to read from the Torah.
His ability to spot potential lay leadership among his congregants and encourage them in congregational and Judaic involvement led to the recognition of Beth-El locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally as an avant garde congregation in the Conservative Movement of Judaism. His own involvements at all levels translated into Beth-El hosting top clerical and political leadership in its intensive community programming, including political personalities of the entire political spectrum, up to Premiers and Prime Ministers, with the Governor-General of Canada and a representative of Jewish Theological Seminary as the Guest of Honor at the dedication of the Sanctuary.
Rabbi Dr. Langner was married to the late former Nancy Stipelman and is the father of two daughters, Dr. Neima Langner, a physician, and Rabbi Gilah Langner, and grandfather of four grandchildren.