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Rabbi Dr. Byron Sherwin (1946-2015)

Rabbi Dr. Byron Sherwin (1946-2015)

Rabbi Dr. Byron L. SherwinRabbi Dr. Byron L. Sherwin, Spertus Institute Distinguished Service Professor and Director of Doctoral Programs, died May 22, 2015, after a long illness. He was an internationally renowned Jewish theologian, ethicist, and scholar, and a prodigious author, who will be missed by students and colleagues around the globe. Burial and services were held in New York and a Memorial Service was held at Spertus on June 23, 2015. 

A native of New York, Dr. Sherwin received his PhD from the University of Chicago’s prestigious Committee on the History of Culture. He received his Rabbinical Ordination from Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) where he was a protégé of Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Dr. Sherwin received an honorary Doctor of Hebrew Letters from JTSA and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. He was awarded a presidential medal, the Officer’s Order of Merit, by the Republic of Poland for his work in improving Polish-Jewish and Catholic-Jewish relations in Poland and the United States. Since 1970, Dr. Sherwin has served on the Spertus faculty. From 1984-2001, he was Dean and Vice-President of the Institute.

Spertus President and CEO Dr. Hal M. Lewis — who is also a former student of Dr. Sherwin's — said, "It is difficult to imagine Spertus Institute without Byron Sherwin. Long before he became my colleague at Spertus, Byron was my teacher. As a new doctoral student, I found his classroom persona both a bit intimidating and inordinately inspiring. He challenged his students to traverse the bridge between theory and practice, demanding that they bring scholarly sensibilities to their communal work, and realpolitik to their scholarship."

Dr. Lewis continued, "To say I learned a great deal from him is to restate the obvious. But even more important than the particulars of any given lecture, Byron taught me how to think about solving Jewish problems. His impact on the lives and work of his students will be long remembered."


Gifts to Spertus Institute in Dr. Sherwin's memory can be made online or by calling 312.322.1779.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Listen to the Memorial Program recorded
at Spertus Institute on June 23, 2015.


Read an interview with Rabbi Dr. Bryon Sherwin from the occasion of his fortieth anniversary at Spertus Institute. In it, he talks about Abraham Joshua Heschel and the thing that made him most proud. 

Rabbi Dr. Byron Sherwin Celebrates
40 Years at Spertus Institute>

Read an in-depth obituary from
the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rabbi Byron Sherwin,
Jewish theologian, teacher,
dead at age 69

Rabbi Byron L. Sherwin joked about going into mourning from April to October because of the Cubs. He enjoyed the TV shows “Downton Abbey” and “Blue Bloods.” He could discuss politics, or the Blackhawks’ quest for the Stanley Cup. The internationally renowned Jewish theologian and professor also wrote an estimated 32 books and 150 articles and studies translated into Chinese, Czech, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. MORE>