The passing of Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia has touched the hearts of many in the Jewish community and beyond. His life’s work, dedication, and impact on the Jewish community and the broader interfaith landscape leaves a rich legacy worth examining.
Who Was Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia?
Rabbi Wisnia was a Nеw York nativе, born in Brooklyn, and raisеd in Lеvittown, Pеnnsylvania. Hе was not only an influеntial rеligious figurе but also a chеrishеd family man. Hе lеavеs bеhind his wifе of 52 yеars, Judith, thеir childrеn Sara, Dov, and Avi, and a lеgacy of lovе and lеadеrship.
Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia: Important Details
|Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia
|Wife: Judith Glassburg Wisnia
Children: Sara, Dov, Avi
|– Bachelor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania (1970)
– Master of Hebrew Letters, Hebrew Union College (1974)
– Doctor of Divinity (1999)
|Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Shomer Emunim, Toledo, Ohio (1974-1977)
|Congregation Beth Chaim, West Windsor, NJ (1977-2019)
|Key Achievements at Beth Chaim
|– Grew congregation from 160 to 600 families
– Expansion of synagogue structure twice
– Introduced social action program, cantor, and volunteer congregant-choir
|Community Leadership Roles
|– President, Mercer County Board of Rabbis
– President, NJ Association of Reform Rabbis
– President, Shore Area Board of Rabbis
– Chair, Family Service Agency of Princeton
– Board Member, National Brain Tumor Association
|Interfaith & Community Service
|– Hightstown Area Ministerium
– Institutional Review Board for Medical Ethics, Medical Center at Princeton
– Jewish Committee on Scouting, Central New Jersey Council Boy Scouts of America
|Final Act of Giving
|– Service: Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, October 1, 3 p.m.
– Burial: Private ceremony
Where Did Rabbi Wisnia’s Educational Journey Begin?
The foundation of Rabbi Wisnia’s religious journey began at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Thought in 1970. His education continued at the esteemed Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, from where he emerged with a Master of Hebrew Letters and was ordained in 1974. His continuous commitment to his faith and education was recognized in 1999 when he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree.
What Were Some of His Early Career Achievements?
After his ordination, Rabbi Wisnia served as the assistant Rabbi at Congregation Shomer Emunim in Toledo, Ohio. It wasn’t long, however, before he found his long-term spiritual home in New Jersey.
How Did Rabbi Wisnia Impact Congregation Beth Chaim?
In 1977, Rabbi Wisnia began his tenure at Congregation Beth Chaim in West Windsor, New Jersey. Over 42 years, he witnessed and influenced the growth of the congregation from 160 families to a thriving community of 600 families. Under his leadership, the synagogue experienced not just a growth in numbers but also infrastructural and programmatic expansions. The Rabbi’s vision led to the establishment of a vibrant social action program, the inclusion of a cantor, and the formation of a volunteer congregant-choir, which all enriched the synagogue’s spiritual tapestry.
In What Other Capacities Did Rabbi Wisnia Serve the Jewish Community?
Beyond Congregation Beth Chaim, Rabbi Wisnia’s leadership stretched across various religious and community boards. His presidencies at the Mercer County Board of Rabbis, New Jersey Association of Reform Rabbis, and the Shore Area Board of Rabbis highlighted his commitment to fostering unity and growth within the Jewish community.
How Did Rabbi Wisnia Engage in Interfaith and Community Service?
Rabbi Wisnia’s commitment to service transcended religious boundaries. He was actively involved in the Hightstown Area Ministerium, advocating for interfaith connections. His ethical contributions extended to the Medical Center at Princeton, where he was instrumental in medical ethics and chaplaincy. Further showcasing his diverse community involvement, Rabbi Wisnia also worked with the Central New Jersey Council Boy Scouts of America and several health and family service boards.
How Is Rabbi Wisnia’s Legacy Being Remembered?
Beyond his immense contributions to the community, Rabbi Wisnia’s family highlighted his posthumous act of tissue donation, a testament to his enduring spirit of giving. As mourners and well-wishers gather to honor his legacy, it’s evident that Rabbi Wisnia’s impact will be felt for generations.
What Are the Funeral Arrangements for Rabbi Wisnia?
To pay respects and celebrate the life of Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, a funeral service will be held at Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. The community is invited to join in a memorial reception and shiva service at the same location, marking their collective mourning and remembrance.
In the passing of Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, the community has lost a beacon of light and leadership. His legacy, however, promises to inspire and guide generations to come.