In the six years since Rabbi Morris D. Rosenblatt died in a car accident, family and friends at Kneseth Israel Synagogue in Annapolis have sought a fitting memorial for the man who led their congregation for nearly half a century.
A week from Sunday, they will immortalizethe rabbi's memory with a vibrant stained-glass window.
The window's theme, "L'dor Vador," means "From generation to generation" in Hebrew, a fitting description of Rosenblatt's work in the county.
"We chose a window because the synagogue was so close to his heart," says his wife, Esther.
"He served here for 40 years. Hehelped build this synagogue. And he presided at the most important moments of the people: from generation to generation, from birth and bar and bat mitzvahs, to marriage and death and again births."
It wasn't unusual for the rabbi to officiate at the wedding of a couple and later at their children's weddings.
The window -- which won't be unveiled until the evening of the ceremony on Aug. 4 -- will contain many Jewish symbols meaningful to the rabbi through the years, she added. The window will be installed in the front of the main sanctuary.
"He was our rabbi," says Laurence E. Block, executive vice president of the synagogue. "His name was synonymous with the synagogue for the entire life of many of the congregants. I was 40 years old when he was killed, and I had never known another rabbi."
Block says the rabbi, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 1985, was also regarded as an effective community leader.
"When he went out in public, he commanded immediate respect from non-Jews as well as from Jews," Block recalls.
Rosenblatt served on the Anne Arundel General Hospital board of managers, several executive committees of the Rabbinical Council of America and as a president of the Anne Arundel CountyMinisterial Association.
To each endeavor, he brought a special ability to make the difficult seem easy, according to his widow.
"He could go over large hurdles, and it seemed sort of easy. He had a quiet strength," she says.
When the 72-year-old rabbi was killed, the family felt a lectures series would keep his name alive and also benefit the community.
Every year near the anniversary of Rosenblatt's death, a speaker comes to the synagogue. Guest lecturers have included Holocaust author Elie Weisel and Shoshana Cardin, a prominent Jewish communal leader.
The stained-glass window adds another enduring reminder of the spiritual legacy the rabbi left his people. During the 7 p.m. dedication program, members of the congregation and community will share their memories of ways Rosenblatt influenced them asfriend, midshipmen's chaplain, rabbinical colleague and civic leader.
"He was unique in that he could relate to people, to all types of people of all ages," says his wife.
"He could speak to a young child or to an old person, and he could communicate with different people on different levels. He always had a kind word and a pleasant word for everyone.
"I'm his wife, and this is how he was."