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Rabbi Emeritus Charles A. Klein 

Rabbi Klein came to The Merrick Jewish Centre in June 1978, a year after he was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. It was during his student days at Brandeis University that he made the decision to pursue Rabbinical Studies. While at JTS Rabbi Klein also earned his Masters of Hebrew Letters and completed his Master of Social Work degree at Columbia University.

For over forty-three years, he served our synagogue and our congregation as our dedicated spiritual leader and made it his life’s work. The strength, growth and development of our congregation is very much a testament to his vision, his energy, and his tireless commitment to The Merrick Jewish Centre.

Rabbi Klein’s career has taken him beyond the Merrick Jewish Centre and he has long been considered an outstanding leader within the New York Jewish community. After many years of dedicated work on behalf of the New York Board of Rabbis, he was elected president of that very prestigious organization. Even before becoming president of the New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Klein was awarded the highly coveted, “Rabbi of the Year” award. He also served as president of the Rabbinical Assembly of Nassau/Suffolk, co-chaired the Rabbinic Advisory Council of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, and was a member of the Board of UJA-Federation and served on that board. Throughout his career, Rabbi Klein’s communal involvement put him in the forefront of many important efforts within the New York Jewish community.

Rabbi Klein is also an author, having written a book entitled, “How to Forgive When You Can’t Forget: Healing our Personal Relationships.” As a result of the publication of his book, which melded together his rabbinic and social work perspective, Rabbi Klein became a much sought-after lecturer, counselor and television and radio commentator. He appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and scores of other television programs and literally hundreds of radio programs. His name became synonymous with healing and strengthening family relationships.

Rabbi Klein had a very expansive vision of his rabbinate. He believed that his rabbinical work extended beyond the confines of the synagogue to include chaplaincy work and outreach to the unaffiliated. During his rabbinate, Rabbi Klein and his wife Betty led many congregational tours to Israel as well as a tour to Central and Eastern Europe. He has frequently been heard on WABC Radio and has often been quoted in “Newsday” and the “New York Times.” For several years he was one of the co-hosts of a weekly program on Telicare called “Circle of Faith,” in which he represented the Jewish community in an ongoing dialogue with spiritual leaders of other faith traditions.

Rabbi Charles Klein and his wife Betty have four children, all of whom are married, and they are the grandparents of ten grandchildren. He plans to enjoy his retirement by learning, writing, relaxing and spending time with his family.

Sat, February 4 2023 13 Shevat 5783