Stanley Rabinowitz, former rabbi of Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation, dies

Stanley S. Rabinowitz, a rabbi who spent a quarter-century leading Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation, one of the largest and oldest Conservative Jewish movement synagogues in the region, died June 8 at a nursing facility in Encinitas, Calif. He died on his 95th birthday.

He had cardiopulmonary arrest, said his daughter Judi Argaman.

Rabbi Stanley S. Rabinowitz of the Addas Israel congregation reads a passage from Deutoronomy in this August 1975 photo. The rabbi, who died June 8 on his 95th birthday, led Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation for more than 25 years.

Rabbi Stanley S. Rabinowitz of the Addas Israel congregation reads a passage from Deutoronomy in this August 1975 photo. The rabbi, who died June 8 on his 95th birthday, led Washington’s Adas Israel Congregation for more than 25 years.

Rabbi Rabinowitz served as Adas Israel’s spiritual leader from 1960 to 1986, when he became a rabbi emeritus.

Throughout his career, Rabbi Rabinowitz delivered sermons to an influential congregation. From his pulpit, he spoke in front of Israeli prime ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin, members of Congress, ambassadors and senior White House officials and Cabinet members.

The grandson of a rabbi, Stanley Samuel Rabinovitz was born June 8, 1917, in Duluth, Minn., and grew up in Des Moines. His father was a beef salesman.

Rabbi Rabinowitz changed the spelling of his last name when he was in his 20s.

He was a 1939 graduate of Iowa State University and received a master’s degree in Hebrew literature from New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary in 1944. He received a master’s degree in sociology from Yale University in 1950.

He was ordained as a rabbi in the mid-1940s and began his career at a synagogue in New Haven, Conn. He oversaw a congregation in Minneapolis from 1953 to 1960.

For many years in his retirement, he continued to serve as an officiant at weddings and funerals. He presided over the burial of U.S. Supreme Court justice and United Nations ambassador Arthur Goldberg in 1990.

Rabbi Rabinowitz wrote a book about the history of Adas Israel, “The Assembly,” which was published in 1993.

He was a past president of the Rabbinical Assembly, a Conservative Jewish organization for rabbis. He also helped found the Movement for the Reaffirmation of Conservative Zionism.

Rabbi Rabinowitz was a District resident until he moved to California 18 months ago.

His wife of 64 years, Anita Lifson Rabinowitz, died in 2009. Their son, Nathaniel Rabinowitz, died of a gunshot wound to the head in 2007. Police considered the death a suicide.

Survivors include two daughters, Sharon Chard-Yaron of San Diego and Judi Argaman of Herzlia, Israel; a brother; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.