Richard Scheuer, a real estate executive and philanthropist who spent his retirement years in Jewish communal affairs, as an active supporter of several Reform institutions, Israeli archaeology and The Jewish Museum, died on Nov. 7. A resident of Larchmont, he was 91, and succumbed to heart failure after surgery.
Mr. Scheuer, who served as chairman of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and The Jewish Museum, was a leader of the effort to expand the Reform movement’s rabbinical school in Jerusalem, and to encourage rabbinical students to spend a year studying in Israel.
“Richard Scheuer’s mission to advance liberal Judaism in a pluralistic, Jewish State of Israel — a mission grounded in his passion for biblical history and archaeological research and publication — shaped his vision for the expansion of our Jerusalem campus, the growth of our Israeli rabbinical and education programs, and the launching of the Tali school system for pluralistic education in Israel,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR president. “His devotion to the College-Institute, commitment to the State of Israel, and love for the Jewish people as well as his intellectual curiosity, generous spirit and warm and kind heart will endure as an abiding source of inspiration.”
A memorial service for Mr. Scheuer will be held Monday, Dec. 15, at noon at HUC-JIR in Manhattan.
Mr. Scheuer was an advocate of women becoming rabbis and cantors, and he was a supporter of a K-12 school that was founded on HUC’s Jerusalem campus.
Born in Long Lake, L.I., he attended the Fieldston School in the Bronx, and Harvard College. In mid-life he earned a master’s degree in ancient history from New York University.
An officer in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, he earned a Bronze Star. After the war he joined his father’s real estate firm, and became active in advancing the quality of education in the Reform movement.
Interested in archaeology, he accompanied Nelson Glueck, president of HUC-JIR from 1947 to 1971, on visits to excavation sites in Israel, and was a major contributor to several archaeological organizations.
Mr. Scheuer was also a supporter of the Abraham J. Heschel School in Manhattan.
He received honorary doctorate degrees from HUC-JIR and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and was named n Honorary Fellow of Jerusalem by Mayor Teddy Kollek.
He is survived by his wife, Joan Gross Scheuer; two sons, Daniel and Jonathan; a daughter, Marian Scheuer Sofaer; a brother, Steven; a sister, Amy Scheuer Cohen, and 11 grandchildren.