Spiritual leader to presidents, justices, diplomats dies at 95

Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, who for 26 years guided Washington’s largest and oldest Conservative synagogue, died on his 95th birthday.

Rabinowitz died June 10 at his daughter’s home in San Diego, where he had lived for the past year.

Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz

During his nearly three decades as the spiritual leader of Adas Israel Congregation, he preached to and spiritually led presidents, Israeli prime ministers, Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and administration officials.

Rabinowitz led his congregation and much of the city through the turbulent years of the John F. Kennedy assassination and that of his senator brother Robert, the killing of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and subsequent riots, the Vietnam  and Six-Day wars, and the fight for Soviet Jewry.

King spoke at a city meeting Rabinowitz hosted at Adas Israel in 1963.

Years later in 1979, Rabinowitz was asked to quickly round up 30 yarmulkes and pamphlets with the transliterated prayer for grace after meals for a ceremonial Shabbat meal at Camp David during peace negotiations between the Egyptians and Israelis. Rabinowitz later attended the signing of the peace treaty on the front lawn of the White House and a large formal dinner.

In Washington, most of Israel’s ambassadors attended his services, as did Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin and Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Simcha Dinitz celebrated their sons’ bar mitzvahs there, as did many hundreds of others. — jta