Jewish philosopher Rabbi David Hartman

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Rabbi David Hartman, a Jewish philosopher who founded the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, died Feb. 10 in Israel following a long illness. He was 81.

In 1971, Hartman and his wife, Bobbi, along with their five children, moved to Israel with plans to establish an institute where Judaic Studies scholars would address the critical contemporary challenges facing the Jewish people. Five years later he founded the Shalom Hartman Institute, named for his father.

He also worked as a professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University for more than 20 years. In addition, he advised several Israeli prime ministers on Israel-diaspora relations and religious pluralism.

Before moving to Israel, Hartman was the rabbi of Congregation Tiferet Beit David Jerusalem in Montreal. While serving the congregation, he also taught and studied at McGill University, earning a doctorate in philosophy.

Born in New York, Hartman studied at Yeshiva Chaim Berlin and the Lubavitch Yeshiva. He also studied with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik before receiving his rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University in New York in 1953.

Among his many awards, he won two National Jewish Book Awards. — jta