Rabbi David Seligson, former spiritual leader of Central Synagogue in Manhattan and a leading figure in the Reform rabbinate, died this week in Manhattan. He was 92 and lived the last two years at the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan.
Rabbi Seligson served at Central Synagogue for 25 years, becoming rabbi emeritus upon his retirement in 1972. After serving as an Army chaplain during World War II, he joined Central Synagogue in 1945. He became senior rabbi in 1950.
The rabbi, a prominent orator, was a national figure at the landmark New York congregation, leading a memorial service after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, hosting the syndicated "Message of Israel" radio program and pioneering in interfaith activities between synagogues and churches.
He served terms as president of the New York Board of Rabbis and the New York Association of Reform Rabbis. He was interim rabbi at several congregations upon his retirement. The rabbi led High Holy Days services in Dublin, Ireland, for 10 years until he was 75.
One of the first Jewish chaplains to volunteer to serve overseas during WWII, Rabbi Seligson led Passover seders for soldiers in Calcutta, India, and visited hospitalized soldiers in Burma.
The rabbi considered his wartime chaplaincy "the greatest work that I have done," he wrote in his memoir, "Rabbi, Chaplain and Burra Sahib."
Rabbi Seligson helped found a Reform synagogue in England during the Depression.
Raised in an Orthodox home on the Lower East Side, he graduated from the Teachers College of Columbia University and the Teachers’ Institute of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva College. He was ordained by the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
His wife, Minnie, died in 1994. He is survived by two daughters, Michelle of Boston and Jill Seligson Braver of Brooklyn, and three grandchildren.
Seymour J. Fader, 76
Seymour J. Fader, an emeritus professor of management and industrial relations, died after a short illness on July 24 in Bath, England, where he directed a summer study program for American university students for the last 17 years. He was 76.
A native of Manhattan, Professor Fader volunteered for service in World War II and spent three years at the front in France and Germany. He was honored for his bravery, which included rescuing Jewish concentration camp prisoners from a burning building at the time of liberation.
After the war he earned an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and had a career in industry before becoming an academic at Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J., where he helped found the business department.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Sloan Fader of Paramus, N.J.; two children, Susan, a member of the board of directors of The Jewish Week, of Teaneck, N.J., and Steven of Potomac, Md.; and six grandchildren.