Rabbi Sheryl  Lewart's Memorial

Rabbi Sheryl Lewart
(1947 - 2012)

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General Details

Name: Rabbi Sheryl Lewart
Gender: Female
Age: 65 years old
Lived: Saturday, 11 October 1947 - Friday, 30 November 2012

My Story

It is with profound sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of our beloved former Rabbi, Sheryl Lewart. After several years of valiantly fighting the renewed appearance of cancer, she and her doctors realized that the treatments that had been holding the cancer at bay had ceased functioning in any meaningful way. Once her treatment stopped working, she decided to embrace the end of her life as clear-headed as possible and with the grace and dignity with which she has always lived her life. Sheryl was a spiritual teacher who lectured and led workshops and seminars in Mystical Judaism (Kabbalah, Hasidism, and Mussar). She served as a rabbi of Kehillat Israel, the largest Reconstructionist congregation in the world with more than 1,000 households, in Los Angeles, California, for 12 years, and regularly gave seminars on values-based decision-making. After graduating from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in child development and family relationships, she taught school in a rural Mennonite community near Philadelphia while studying for her master’s degree in education at Lehigh University. As an entrepreneur, she owned both an antiques business and a custom rug weaving business near New Hope, Pennyslvania, before beginning her rabbinical studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. As part of her study, she lived in Jerusalem for a year while attending Hebrew University, and she was ordained in 1994, graduating with a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters.From 1994 to 1998, she was Director of Outreach for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, spending the summer of 1995 in Jerusalem. She was a founding rabbinic cohort member of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which is dedicated to exploring, renewing, and applying the riches of Jewish spiritual traditions in order to enrich the inner lives of Jews and, ultimately, link the search for inner wholeness with social and environmental activism. She was also a member of Spiritual Directors International, whose calling it is to support and encourage holiness around the world and across spiritual traditions. Having studied Spiritual Formation at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, Sheryl offered spiritual direction and guidance in order to help others understand that by developing our own spirituality, we discover a deeper intimacy with God and a genuine compassion for all of creation. God, it has been suggested, is the wind that blows our ship, but it is up to us to turn the rudder and shift the sails in order to more fully catch the wind that freely blows. In addition to her many other activities, Sheryl was an adjunct faculty member of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; was the editor of Jewish, Alive & American, an innovative introduction to Judaism and conversion course in national distribution; wrote for The Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia); and had articles published in Reconstructionism Today and The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. All of us at KI are deeply saddened by Sheryl's death and feel blessed to have had her wisdom, generosity of spirit and heart, passionate teaching of Jewish tradition and the sweetness of her loving soul for the twelve years she served as one of our rabbis. As per her request, Sheryl will be buried in her family plot at Hunter Gardens in New York. All of us at KI have been touched by Sheryl's gentle, caring heart and feel blessed to have had her in our lives. Our love and deepest condolences go out to her beloved husband Bob, her son Mark and daughter Judy and their families at this difficult time. The Book of Proverbs taught us, "The light of God shines through the human soul," and so it certainly was with Rabbi Lewart. Throughout her career she composed a host of moving and inspirational blessings which she had just finished compiling into a new book with the help of several devoted members of our congregation. If you wish to make a donation to Kehillat Israel in her honor and memory, a portion of each donation will go to help make sure that Sheryl's book is published and shared with the world. "Death is always personal," wrote Rabbi Lewart, and her death touches all our lives in the most personal and deepest fabric of our being. May her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life, and The One who makes Peace in the heavens bring comfort and Peace to all of us who mourn as we honor her memory and her life. With blessings and sadness, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation

Latest Tributes

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From: JudySilk
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I love you for always with the strength you passed to me. In the quiet whisper of faith you had in me that I would f...
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From: Blanche
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An Ode to Rabbi Sheryl Lewart Surrounded by sunlight reflected through six pointed stars at Kehillat Israel we a...
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From: Elenaalcalay
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Rabbi Lewart was always ready to hear you out. As young as she was in years, she was an old soul. I appreciated her...
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Rabbi Lewart married my husband and I nearly ten years ago on a beautiful day, next to a vineyard in the Santa Ynez V...
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From: Noah
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From: Noah
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Sherry was a wonderful friend and teacher, beginning at RRC. In addition to her wisdom and dedication to her studies,...
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From: robindod
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You were always there for our family in joy and in sadness. Always with a smile and so much love and comfort. You a...
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From: Mhunn
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Our sincere thoughts and prayers. From everyone at DEKRA.
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From: Sherylnb
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love beauty wisdom, mentorship, insight, sensativity joy strength caring shining. Sheryl gave her gifts effortlessly...
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From: jjenya
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Rabbi Sheryl Lewart was a gentle wise woman whose generosity and spirituality guided my entrance into adult Judaism....
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We are so grateful and feel so honored to have had the opportunity to know Rabbi Sheryl Lewart. Her devotion to teach...
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From: danafein
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The thing that will stay with me forever is the memory of Sheryl teaching: It was as if we were inside Torah. She wo...

Biography

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Passing

Place of Passing: Pacific Palisades,CA
Date of Passing: 30 November 2012
Place of Burial: Hunter Gardens, New York

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