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Beloved Toronto rabbi dies

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Rabbi Jordan Pearlson, a stalwart of Toronto’s Jewish community, has died.

Pearlson, who served as spiritual leader of Temple Sinai for 40 years, died on Tuesday. He was 83.

Born in Sommerville, Mass., Pearlson was hired by the Reform temple while still a student rabbi in 1954, even before land was purchased and a building fund established.

He attended engineering school and also trained as a lawyer but was ordained in 1954 and served the temple until 1994. He oversaw the congregation’s growth from 40 families to more than 6,000 individuals.

A leader in interfaith dialogue, he was a Canadian member of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, which negotiates with the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, the African Council of Churches and the Orthodox Christian Communities of the Eastern Rites.

He twice met with the late Pope John Paul.

Pearlson received numerous awards, among them the National Humanitarian Award for contributions to human rights and interfaith conciliation. He was also voted an Honorary Citizen of Metropolitan Toronto.

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