It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Rabbi Jerome Gurland. He was a member of our board of directors, one of our residents, and a champion of human relations across all faiths and races. Rabbi Gurland passed away on May 20.
A Glenmeadow resident since 2013, Rabbi Gurland has been a fountain of knowledge and understanding, enriching the community by drawing in intriguing guest speakers, such as the president of a West Springfield mosque, who gave a presentation about Islam.
Among Rabbi Gurland’s efforts to promote social justice and compassion was moderating a panel presented through our Glenmeadow Learning program: “Interfaith-ful Dialogue: Religion, Respect, and Tolerance,” which featured four religious leaders representing Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Sometimes, Rabbi Gurland himself served as our speaker: he led Passover seders and taught courses on Israeli writer Amos Oz, the Bible, and texts in rabbinic literature. He made many friends at Glenmeadow and reconnected with those he met in his teaching career or in the Springfield community over the course of a rich, fascinating life.
Raised in Brooklyn, he graduated from Brooklyn College, studied modern languages and education at Johns Hopkins University, and then attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he was ordained as a reform rabbi.
He worked for a number of years in Rhode Island, including service as a chaplain at the University of Rhode Island and as Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Cranston, RI. He taught at Salve Regina University and Western New England University, where he served as a member of the campus ministry and as cultural liaison coordinator. He was a longtime chairman of the Community Relations Commission for the city of Springfield, co-chair of the Greater Springfield Black-Jewish Dialogue, and a recipient of the Pynchon Award for distinguished service to the community.
“Rabbi Gurland’s passions for faith, education, and tolerance flourished throughout his entire career, and continued at Glenmeadow,” said Glenmeadow President and CEO Anne Thomas. “His work for greater communication among all religious communities led to better understanding. He was a great, truly inspirational man.”
Glenmeadow Board of Directors Chair Dennis Fitzpatrick said that Rabbi Gurland was “a valuable asset to the board and to Glenmeadow in general. I had the distinct pleasure of working alongside Rabbi Gurland for many years on the board. He was often last to weigh in on a given discussion topic. Always, he offered wise perspective. He will be missed.”
We extend our condolences to his family.