Rabbi Richard A. Levine

Rabbi Richard A. Levine
Rabbi Richard A. Levine
Posted: March 04, 2014

Rabbi Richard A. Levine, 75, of Voorhees, the longtime leader of what is now Adath Emanu-El, the Mount Laurel congregation, died of complications from a blood disease on Friday, Feb. 28, at Virtua Voorhees medical center.

He was "a rabbi's rabbi, a mensch, a friend and a truly precious soul," Rabbi Benjamin David, senior rabbi at Adath, said in biographical notes written by Rabbi Levine's son Ari.

Born in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Levine earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 at the Wharton School.

He was ordained in 1964 after graduating from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, which gave him an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1989.

Rabbi Levine in 1964 became the first full-time rabbi for the 50-family congregation at what was then known as Temple Emanu-El in Willingboro.

The congregation moved to Mount Laurel in 1997 and became Adath Emanu-El, the rabbi's son said, serving 500 families by the time he retired in 2005.

In the 1960s, Rabbi Levine was the song-and-dance program leader at Camp Kutz, a Reform youth leadership institute in Warwick, N.Y.

"Whenever a congregation sings a Debbie Friedman or a Jeff Klepper song," his son said, referring to artists whom Rabbi Levine taught, "an echo of my father's teaching can be heard."

Rabbi Levine was a former president of the Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, a former president of the Tri-County Board of Rabbis in South Jersey, as well as a board member of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey.

Beginning with a Young Judea trip in 1955, he made more than 25 trips to Israel and, because he was a supporter of the Jewish National Fund, his name is on an honor roll of that organization in Jerusalem, his son said.

Rabbi Levine is survived by his wife, Judi; five sons, Ari and Ron Levine, Brian Golder, Jason and Matthew Chaikin; four daughters, Deborah Golder, Samantha Chaikin, Yael Emenecker, and Shira Keet; a brother; a sister; and 13 grandchildren. His first wife, Lois Levine, died in 1982. He is also survived by his former wife, Judith G. Fales.

A visitation was set from 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Adath Emanu-El, 205 Elbo Ln., Mount Laurel, 08054, before a noon funeral service there, with interment in Locustwood Memorial Park in Cherry Hill.

Donations may be sent to the Rabbi Richard Levine Good Works Fund at the above address for Adath Emanu-El.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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