Traditional Congregation plans service for Rabbi Ephraim Zimand

Rabbi Ephraim Zimand, shown here in a 1987 file photo, died March 11. He served as the spiritual leader of Traditional Congregation for 26 years. 

Traditional Congregation invites the community to celebrate the life and legacy of Rabbi Ephraim Zimand, of blessed memory, with a memorial service at 7 p.m. Monday, June 4 in the sanctuary at 12437 Ladue Road. Mincha will be at 6:30 p.m.

Rabbi Zimand died Sunday, March 11 in Jerusalem at the age of 80, according to his widow, Esther Zimand. Those who knew him said at the time of his death that he dedicated his life to strengthening the Jewish identity of his congregants and Jewish life in America.  He served at Traditional Congregation for 26 years, until his retirement nearly 11 years ago. He was a pulpit rabbi for a total of 46 years; before Traditional he served pulpits in Sarnia, Canada; Toledo, Ohio; Albany, N.Y.; and Schenectady, N.Y. 

 His passion was learning and teaching.  Leaders at Traditional said he enriched the lives of countless students there and in a wide range of classrooms across the community.  As a master teacher, he was the Melton Ethics faculty member for some 18 years; his students speak fondly of him and they often learned with him for many years. 

His favorite source was Pirke Avot, the section of the 1,800- to 2,000-year old Mishnah, which primarily gently deals with ethical behavior.  Many of his classes continued for years, exploring and applying Pirke Avot to life and the personal lives of his students.  In writing he often would aim to connect other elements of Torah and general wisdom to teachings from Pirke Avot.

Rabbi Zimand was also active in the St Louis Jewish community. A musmach (ordainee) of Yeshivah University, he supported non-Orthodox rabbis as a member of the St. Louis Rabbinic Association. Over the years he worked with his peers on numerous educational programs throughout the community.  

Rabbi Zimand was a proud Zionist, which was punctuated by his retirement in Israel where two of his six children live, along with several grandchildren.