Aaron Landes, Philadelphia Rabbi and Navy Chaplain, Dies at 84

Beth Shalom Rabbi Led 700 Reserve Chaplains

By JTA

Published April 23, 2014.
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Rabbi Aaron Landes, a Philadelphia congregational rabbi for decades and the longtime director of U.S. Naval Reserve chaplains, has died.

Aaron Landes
Florida Atlantic University
Aaron Landes

Landes died on April 19 following a battle with leukemia. He was 84.

He managed some 700 chaplains as head of the chaplains corps until retiring in 1989, according to the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia.

Landes served as the senior rabbi of Beth Sholom Congregation in suburban Elkins Park, Pa., for 36 years, retiring in 2000 and becoming rabbi emeritus. He also founded the Forman Hebrew Day School — now the Perelman Jewish Day School — and served on the boards of several religious organizations, the Exponent reported.

“He was a very unusual man in that he was highly intelligent and highly creative in his profession, but I don’t know many men who were so successful as he was in two professions,” his daughter Tamar said.

Landes was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1955 and then became a Navy chaplain, serving two years of active duty at the 5th Naval District Headquarters in Norfolk, Va.

Afterward he served two weeks of reserve duty each year. He also held a master’s degree from JTS. Landes was a graduate of Yeshiva University, where he served as president of the undergraduate student body.

He met his wife of 61 years, Sora, while working the summer after his college graduation as a lifeguard at Camp Massad, a Jewish sleepaway camp in the Poconos.


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