W. Gunther Plaut was born in Germany, but in 1935 fled the Nazis for the United States, where he became a rabbi. He was President of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and from 1978 to 1985 served as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Rabbi Plaut received nineteen honorary degrees and was a Companion of the Order of Canada. He published twenty-five books.
Rabbi Jonathan Plaut was the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel in Jackson, Michigan, and Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth El in Traverse City, Michigan. He served Congregation Beth El in Windsor, Ontario from 1970 to 1984 and Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, California, from 1985 to 1993. From 1993 to 1999 he was engaged in major fundraising projects. Rabbi Plaut died in April 2012 at the age of 69.