Influential Rabbi Harold Schulweis dies at 89 in California

December 19, 2014 22:41

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, a tireless innovator who implored followers to fight against genocide and see Judaism as a religion with universal significance, has died at age 89 at his Los Angeles home, his synagogue said in a statement.

Schulweis, who was regarded as one of the most influential rabbis of his generation, died on Thursday after a struggle with heart disease, his congregation Valley Beth Shalom said in a statement.

"Rabbi Schulweis was in many ways an innovator and an inspiration and a man who didn't worry about artificial boundaries, and that was his greatness," said Rabbi Bradley Artson, dean of the rabbinic school at American Jewish University. Schulweis taught at the university.

The New York-born Schulweis in 1970 was invited to take the pulpit at Valley Beth Shalom, a Los Angeles synagogue in Judaism's Conservative branch. In more than four decades leading it, he introduced a number of practices that were replicated at synagogues across the United States.

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