from Breaking News in Chicago…
December 25, 2008 at 10:51 AM
The death this week of Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, an influential leader of Reform Judaism, drew a response Thursday from President-elect Barack Obama, whose Hyde Park home is across the street from Wolf’s temple.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, who was not just our neighbor, but a dear friend to Michelle and me,” Obama said in a statement from Hawaii, where he and his family are vacationing.
“We are joined in this time of grief by the entire Hyde Park community, the American Jewish Community, and all those who shared Rabbi Wolf’s passion for learning and profound commitment to serving others. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Wolf, 84, died Tuesday, Dec. 23, apparently of a heart attack.
Wolf led KAM Congregation Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park, the city’s oldest Jewish congregation, from 1980 to 2000. In 1957 he helped launch Congregation Solel in Highland Park, where he remained until 1972.
Wolf mixed respect and deep knowledge of Jewish tradition with a willingness to ask questions, try new things and expose his congregation to an eclectic collection of guest speakers, which included Rev. Martin Luther King at Congregation Solel.
Obama’s statement went on to say “throughout Chicago and in Jewish homes and classrooms across our country, Rabbi Wolf’s name is synonymous with service, social action, and the possibility of change. He will be remembered as a loving husband and father, an engaging teacher, a kindhearted shepherd for the K.A.M. Isaiah community, and a tireless advocate of peace for the United States, Israel and the world.”
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A great guy and wise rabbi, Arnold Wolf was a friend…