Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld

Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld

Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld came into my life in the early 1960’s. He was then the senior rabbi at the Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, Ohio.

I was the tenor cantorial soloist at Fairmount Temple. My voice teacher directed the choir, and asked me if I’d be willing to sing at FairmountTemple. I was in my twenties, and scared to death, but I agreed to sing. Before the actual service, we’d meet in Rabbi Lelyveld’s office. He was always encouraging to all of the members of the choir, and would put his arms around me and say, “Ruby (the choir director) says you have a great voice; sing as you always sing and you’ll be fine.”

I didn’t realize then that Rabbi Lelyveld would change my life, and be such an influence on me. One of his best friends was Martin Luther King Jr., and along with Dr. King, he was a power house in the civil rights movement in the sixties! He marched in Selma, Alabama and elsewhere. He and the associate rabbis of Fairmount did a series of messages called “Let Us Search And Try Our Ways” which was based on a section of the book of Lamentations. I’m writing this article in September of 2011, and it’s right on target today.

Rabbi Lelyveld was a man of peace and throughout his life did all he could to bring it about. He died April 15, 1996 of a brain tumor. I’ll never forget him because “Let Us Search And Try Our Ways” changed my life!

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