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2018 Chautauqua Season

2018 Interfaith Lecture Series: Rabbi Samuel Stahl and Rabbi Zalman Vilenkin

Jul 9, 2018 2:00pm ‐ Jul 9, 2018 3:15pm



Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl became Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth‑El, in San Antonio, Texas, in 2002, where for 26 years he had served as the Temple’s Senior Rabbi.  During his tenure, the congregation grew from 900 to over 1250 families. Previously, he was a Chaplain in the United States Army, and, for seven years, the Rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel (The Henry Cohen Memorial) in Galveston, Texas. 

A native of Sharon, Pennsylvania and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Rabbi Stahl was ordained a rabbi at Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati in 1967.  The holder of an earned doctorate in medieval Bible commentaries from HUC-JIR, he has also been awarded two honorary doctorates, including one from Oblate School of Theology, a Roman Catholic graduate school in San Antonio.

Rabbi Stahl is deeply committed to enhancing interfaith relations, being the first Jewish leader to receive religious leadership awards from both the Texas Conference of Churches and the San Antonio Community of Churches. 

Having served on a number of organizational boards in the Jewish and general communities, both on the local and national levels, he and his wife, Lynn, were also for two years the Honorary Chairs of the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.  From 1984 to 1990 he was editor of the Journal of Reform Judaism, now the CCAR Journal, the official quarterly publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

During the summer of 2003 Rabbi Stahl served as Theologian-in-Residence at Chautauqua Institution, and he has served as a lecturer and staff member of the Department of Religion each Season thereafter.

Rabbi Stahl is the author of two books: Making the Timeless Timely: Thoughts and Reflections of a Contemporary Reform Rabbi and Boundaries, Not Barriers: Some Uniquely Jewish Perspectives on Life.  He and Lynn are blessed with two daughters and six grandchildren. 

Rabbi Zalman Vilenkin studied in Israel for 5 years and later at the Talmudical Seminary of Brooklyn, NY. He was ordained at the Rabbinical College of America and received certification in “Practical Rabbinic and Synagogue Management” from Touro College.  A Talmudic and Kabbalistic scholar, he has been an editor and contributor for several Rabbinic and Religious Journals.

Rabbi Vilenkin has taught at the Rabbinical College of Johannesburg, South Africa, and for the past 19 years he has been teaching Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah at the Talmudic Seminary in Brooklyn, where he also serves as Assistant Dean and student counselor.  

For the past 18 years Rabbi Vilenkin has served as the Executive Director and spiritual leader of Chabad Lubavitch of Chautauqua, where, together with his wife Esther, he continues to serve.


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