Rabbi Bernard Lipnick dies at 83

Rabbi Bernard Lipnick, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Amoona, with which he had been associated since 1951, a past president of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association, and one of the leading advocates for what became the Solomon Schechter Day School, died Tuesday, April 20, 2010, just days short of his 84th birthday. Rabbi Lipnick had been in declining health for the past few weeks.

Although Rabbi Lipnick had struggled with various health issues for a number of years, until now he had always managed to rally and return to full strength, even coming out of retirement to serve again as Senior Rabbi at B’nai Amoona between the tenures of Rabbi Eric Cytryn and Rabbi Carnie Shalom Rose.


Just a year ago, at the age of 83, Rabbi Lipnick celebrated his second bar mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Amoona, which he had served since 1951 until his passing. Statements have been pouring in to the office of the St. Louis Jewish Light, offering condolences to his family and to his congregation from across the spectrum of the local Jewish community.

Rabbi James Bennett of Congregation Shaare Emeth, which has enjoyed a long and cordial relationship with Congregation B’nai Amoona and its rabbis, dating from the days in University City when their synagogue buildings were across the street from one another, said, “We mourn with the rest of the St. Louis community at this great loss. Rabbi Lipnick was a great man, a wonderful and caring rabbi, a powerful visionary and leader and a true mentsch. His presence is missed already. May his memory be a blessing.”

Rabbi Bernard Lipnick was born April 29, 1926, in Baltimore, Md. He received a bachelor of arts degree in Semitics from Johns Hopkins University in 1947. He attended Baltimore Hebrew High School and College, and was awarded an academic diploma in 1945, and a teacher’s diploma in 1944. He attended the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary of America, graduating in 1951 as an ordained rabbi. He also received a Master of Hebrew Literature degree from JTS. He also attended Washington University towards a Ph.D. degree.

Rabbi Lipnick began his association with B’nai Amoona in 1951 as associate rabbi and educational director, later becoming senior rabbi, and on his retirement, Rabbi Emeritus. Long respected by his rabbinic colleagues, he served several terms as president of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association and the Rabbinical Assembly of St. Louis.

He was a longtime passionate supporter of Zionism and Israel, and served in Israel for Kol Yisrael as a radio correspondent and announcer, where he developed his memorable speaking voice. He also traveled extensively to Europe and Israel through the years.

Rabbi Lipnick was an early advocate of the creation of a local “liberal Jewish day school,” and was pleased when the Solomon Schechter Day School and the Saul Mirowitz Day School/Reform Jewish Academy were formed. He was honored by Schechter at its 1990 gala dinner, among many other honors.

Rabbi Lipnick served as chairman of the Jewish Federation’s Interagency Committee.

He also published extensively in numerous rabbinic and scholarly journals, including an article on “Jewish Voting in the 1968 Elections” in the February 1969 edition of Midstream magazine. Survivors include his wife, Harriet and three sons, David Jordan Lipnick, Daniel Adam Lipnick and Jesse August Lipnick. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m.. Friday, April 13, 2010 at Congregation B’nai Amoona, 324 South Mason Road.

See the April 28 edition of the Jewish Light to read more about Rabbi Lipnick’s life and impact on the community and view photographs from his years in St. Louis.