Philadelphia Synagogue's Historian Found Beaten to Death in Home

A Philadelphia man who served as his synagogue’s informal historian was found beaten to death in his home.

The body of Lee Stanley, 65, a longtime member of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, was found on Friday, CBS Philly reported. Homicide detectives are investigating.

Rabbi Jill Maderer of Rodeph Shalom told the radio station that Stanley’s father, Harry, was a “legendary cantor” at the historic congregation in Center City and that Stanley “had a great love for Judaism, for Jewish prayer, for Jewish history and Jewish music.”

Members of the congregation frequently looked after Stanley, visiting him when he was sick because he had few living family members, the rabbi said.

According to, fellow congregants said Stanley as the synagogue’s informal historian “could pluck from his mind details most others had long forgotten — or never thought to preserve: the precise date the congregation changed the melody for a particular song or tinkered with the Hebrew phrasing of a prayer.”

Police said there were no obvious signs of a break-in or of anything taken, indicating the possibility that Stanley may have known or even admitted his killer or killers into the home.

A $20,000 reward is being offered by the City of Philadelphia for information in the case.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Philadelphia Synagogue's Historian Found Beaten to Death in Home

Thank you!

This article has been sent!