On February 19, 2008, spiritual leader, humantiarian, and founding rabbi, Rabbi Jordan Pearlson z”l passed away. He was 83.
Born on September 2, 1924 in Somerville Massachusetts , Rabbi Pearlson came from humble beginnings. His love for study led him to earn degrees in engineering, law and ultimately the rabbinate.
As founding rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto , Rabbi Jordan Pearlson z”l guided the growth of the congregation from fourteen families to a community of over 6,000 men, women and children. His commitment and leadership assured that the increase in size was accompanied by a growth in learning and caring. His example inspired dozens of members and teachers at Temple Sinai to seek careers as rabbis and Jewish professionals. His unique gift in crafting meaningful lifecycle events touched generation after generation and made Temple Sinai its members’ second home.
The effects of Rabbi Pearlson’s energetic and determined efforts are far-reaching. He developed the first multi-faith service for Her Majesty and Prince Philip in 1985, and is the only rabbi to give the Chancellor’s Lectures in the hundred-year history of the lectureship at Queen’s Theological College , Kingston, Ontario . He was a Canadian member of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
His efforts towards the betterment of humankind have not gone unnoticed. As a national board member of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Rabbi Pearlson was a recipient of their National Humanitarian Award for contributions to human rights and interfaith conciliation. On a local level, he was voted Honourary Citizen of Metropolitan Toronto. Internationally, Rabbi Pearlson was named Global Citizen by the Canadian Committee for the United Nations 50th Anniversary and One Voice.
Rabbi Pearlson lent his finely honed ability to articulate the written word as religious opinion columnist for the Toronto Star. He also acted as corresponding editor for Christian-Jewish Relations, published by the World Jewish Congress of London, . As a broadcaster, Rabbi Pearlson pioneered a daily religious interfaith dialogue on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with Rev. William Bothwell. He was the first rabbi appointed to chair the National Religious Advisory Committee to the CBC.
Rabbi Pearlson strongly believed in universal education. His devotion to study brought him to serve as national president of the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University. He developed the Jordan Pearlson Outreach Program to enable children who lived in development towns in the Negev work towards a university degree.