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Remembering Rabbi Herman Schaalman, Longest Serving Adjunct Professor

February 2, 2017
Rabbi Schaalman

Rabbi Herman Schaalman, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s longest serving adjunct professor, died in his home on Tuesday, January 31 at the age of 100. The longtime leader of Emanuel Congregation in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, former president of the nation's Reform rabbis, and an interfaith pioneer, began teaching at Garrett-Evangelical in 1957 and taught his last course in 2015.

Among Rabbi Schaalman's numerous awards and recognitions, the seminary conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the 147th Commencement Service in May 2003. He was also awarded the Eliza Garrett Distinguished Service Award and this past fall the seminary awarded the first-ever Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Social Leadership Award in his honor.

Reflecting on his work in the academy, Rabbi Schaalman said, “According to my recollection and reckoning, I have been a JCS lecturer now for fifty-five years. It began for me in 1947 at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa and has continued ever since in Chicago at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University and Chicago Theological Seminary on the campus of the University of Chicago. In these years, several thousand students, virtually all of them preparing for one phase or another of Christian ministry, have taken courses ranging from Liturgy of the Synagogue, Introduction to Rabbinic Judaism, to Modern Jewish Life and Thought.”

Rabbi Schaalman’s list of achievements extends well beyond Garrett-Evangelical and you can read more about his exemplary life in the Chicago Tribune article and his obituary linked below.  We give thanks for Rabbi Schaalman and the impact he has had on countless seminarians since he first came to Garrett-Evangelical in 1957. May he rest in peace and may we all strive to love the stranger.

Services will be held on Friday, February 3 at 11 a.m. at Emanuel Congregation, 5959 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660.