In Memory of Rabbi Richard Levy, z"l

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of our beloved teacher, friend, and colleague, Rabbi Richard Levy, on Friday, June 21.

It hardly risks exaggeration to call Rabbi Levy a giant of our generation. He began his rabbinical career, within weeks of his ordination from HUC-JIR in 1964, in jail, after desegregating a pool in St. Augustine, FL, under the leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Later, in Los Angeles, he served as rabbi at Leo Baeck Temple, and subsequently led both UCLA Hillel and the Los Angeles Hillel Council. Finally, as Director of the School of Rabbinical Studies at the Jack H. Skirball Campus until 2009, Rabbi Levy oversaw the shift to a full-fledged rabbinical program. He continued as Rabbi of the Synagogue and Director of Spiritual Growth until 2014.

Our HUC-JIR community knew Rabbi Levy as our colleague, teacher, and dear friend of many years. For all his professional genius, Rabbi Levy was, for us, the rabbi who sought to excavate his own soul, as well as the souls of those whom he encountered—always asking piercing questions posed with a remarkable gentleness and unabashed human interest. He was not above a wry smile and ironic remark, nor did he shy from an ideological argument. But he emanated indiscriminate kindness and warmth, the ultimate mark of his personality and legacy.

 
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Croll Center for Jewish Learning and Culture.

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