Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, a longtime Chicago rabbi whose synagogue was across the street from Barack Obama’s home, has died.
Wolf, the rabbi emeritus at the K.A.M. Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park, died suddenly on Tuesday afternoon. He was 83.
Wolf served at the Reform synagogue for 20 years before retiring in 2000. For eight years he taught philosophy at Yale University and was the school’s Jewish chaplain. Wolf also served as a Navy chaplain during the Korean War and in 1957 was the founding rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Ill., according to the Chicago Tribune.
Wolf was a strong supporter of Obama’s presidential campaign in the Jewish community, writing a widely circulated piece titled “My Neighbor, Barack.” Wolf called Obama “one of our own” and wrote that “it’s not neighborly instinct that’s led me to support the Obama candidacy: I support Barack Obama because he stands for what I believe, what our tradition demands.”
In a statment, Obama offerred his condolences, calling Wolf “not just our neighbor, but a dear friend to Michelle and me.”
“Throughout Chicago and in Jewish homes and classrooms across our country, Rabbi Wolf’s name is synonymous with service, social action and the possibility of change,” said the president-elect. “He will be remembered as a loving husband and father, an engaging teacher, a kindhearted shepherd for the K.A.M. Isaiah community, and a tireless advocate of peace for the United States, Israel and the world.”
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday morning at KAM Isaiah.