Rabbi Harold Schulweis — spiritual leader, author and activist — dies at 89

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Rabbi Harold Schulweis, a longtime Southern California spiritual leader and a national leader in the Conservative movement and beyond, has died.

Schulweis died Wednesday night at his Los Angeles-area home following a long battle with heart disease, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported. He was 89.

He was the longtime spiritual leader of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, Calif. — one of the largest congregations in the United States — for nearly 45 years. Schulweis, the author of nine books, helped found several Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Mazon and Jewish World Watch.

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Schulweis was raised in a secular Jewish family, but began studying Judaic texts as a teenager and then attended Yeshiva College. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1950.

Schulweis is survived by his wife of 64 years, Malkah, four children and 11 grandchildren.