Rabbi Clifford Elliot Librach


Rabbi Clifford E. Librach

Rabbi Clifford Elliot Librach, November 18, 2021

Rabbi Clifford E. Librach, an internationally recognized theologian, essayist and attorney, died Thursday at his home in Waltham, MA. He was 70 years old. The cause of death was cancer.

During his 30-year career, Rabbi Librach presided over Reform congregations in Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut. As a respected Judaic scholar, Rabbi Librach’s erudite essays and sometimes controversial commentaries were widely published, appearing in Commentary, the Wall Street Journal and the Journal of Reform Judaism.

In 2011, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion awarded Rabbi Librach a Doctor of Divinity for his scholarly distinction. In 1998 The Forward newspaper named him one of the “50 most dynamic and influential Jewish leaders in America”. He was the only pulpit rabbi to earn that distinction.

As a spiritual leader, Rabbi Librach wanted to take the role of an oboe in an orchestra “because it is the most reliable instrument…in whom everyone can be confident, and through whom everyone can find their voice”.

He was passionate about the St. Louis Cardinals, Civil War history, Disney World, Dunkin Donuts and traveling to Israel.

A native of St. Louis, Rabbi Librach attended Clayton High School and graduated Georgetown University cum laude. In 1977 he received a Juris Doctor degree from New York University where he was associate editor of The Law Review. In 1986 he was ordained Rabbi at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Before his ordination, he clerked for the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and worked as a litigator at Husch & Eppenberger in St. Louis.

“Nothing has given me greater joy, or challenge, than my family, “ he told a reporter in 2009. “When I look at my children, I see my past and my future, and I respect that obsession in every parent I know.”

Every Sunday night, no matter where he was in the world, Rabbi Librach logged onto a computer to connect with his two brothers.

Rabbi Librach was the son of the late Max M. Librach and the late Eveline B. Librach of St. Louis. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Miriam Case Librach of Waltham, MA; a daughter, Giliah Librach Nagar (Erez) of Woburn, MA; a son, Max Librach (Ashley) of Waltham, MA; grandchildren Lavi and Shai Nagar of Woburn, MA; two brothers, Austan Librach (Diane) of Austin, TX and Mathew Librach (Phyllis Brasch) of St. Louis, two brothers-in-law, Joel Case of St. Louis and James Case of Kansas City, MO, nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues and students.

A funeral service was held Sunday, November 21 at 12:30 p.m. at Temple Emunah, Lexington, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory to Friends of Israeli Defense Forces, P.O. Box 4224, New York, N.Y. 10163 or online at https://www.fidf.org