Abraham D. Shaw, rabbi for six decades, 88

January 04, 1998|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Rabbi Abraham D. Shaw, who served a Baltimore congregation for more than 60 years, died Thursday at Methodist Hospital in Houston from complications during surgery. He was 88.

Rabbi Shaw, a Houston resident at the time of his death, joined Temple Oheb Shalom in 1936 and was affiliated with the congregation throughout his life.

"It is extraordinary for a person to serve [his] entire rabbinical career at one pulpit," said Rabbi Donald R. Berlin, leader of the temple. More than 1,110 families worship there.

For longtime temple members such as Ruth Barth, the memory of Rabbi Shaw will always be fulfilling.

"He was a beautiful sermonizer," said Mrs. Barth, a Pikesville resident and temple member for 40 years. "Rabbi Shaw was such a likable man, and he helped so many people."

Born in Kansas City, Kan., as a teen-ager he served as international president of B'nai B'rith's youth organization, Aleph Zaddik Aloeph.

He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1932 and was elected to Alpha Kappa Gamma, the national honorary sociological fraternity.

At Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he was the leading scholarship winner of his class. In 1961, he was named an honorary doctor of divinity by the college.

At his ordination in 1936, Rabbi Shaw was invited by Rabbi William Rosenau to become assistant rabbi of Oheb Shalom. Four years later, Rabbi Shaw succeeded Rabbi Rosenau as head of the congregation.

In 1956, at the 103rd annual meeting of Oheb Shalom Congregation -- the occasion also marking Rabbi Shaw's 20th anniversary of service -- he was unanimously elected rabbi-for-life. Twenty years later, he was elected rabbi emeritus.

During Rabbi Shaw's tenure, the congregation doubled its membership and dedicated its facility on Park Heights Avenue.

"His death marked 61 years of dedicated service to the congregation," Rabbi Berlin said.

Rabbi Shaw was to have become president of the National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis at its annual meeting in June.

He served as president of the Baltimore Board of Rabbis and of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and represented the CCAR on the board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

He was past president of Baltimore's Menorah Lodge of B'nai B'rith and a member of the boards of the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Baltimore Board of Jewish Education, The Associated-Jewish Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Baltimore Jewish Welfare Board.

He also was past chairman of the Clergymen's Advisory Committee for Planned Parenthood.

Services for Rabbi Shaw will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Oheb Shalom, 7310 Park Heights Ave. Interment will be in Oheb Shalom Memorial Park.

Rabbi Shaw's first wife, Maxine F. Shaw, died in 1966.

Survivors include his wife, Rosalie Shaw of Houston; a son, David Shaw of La Jolla, Calif.; two stepsons, Gary and Jeffrey Friedman of Houston; a sister, Minnie Saferstein of Kansas City; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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