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Rabbi Jerome Gurland was dedicated to community service and interfaith relations

Rabbi Jerome Sheldon Gurland, 88, of Longmeadow, died peacefully at his home on May 20. Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of Joseph and Esther (Holzberg) Gurland. 

With a desire to become an educator, Rabbi Gurland graduated from Brooklyn College before attending Johns Hopkins University where he studied modern languages, German, Danish, and Spanish. While there he realized that he wanted to become a rabbi. He then attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati for five years before being ordained there a Reform rabbi. He began his rabbinic career in Providence, Rhode Island, followed by serving as the Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Cranston, Rhode Island. At that time, he also began his teaching career at Salve Regina College. 

Rabbi Gurland’s lifelong passion for teaching brought him to Western New England College, where he served as a professor, member of the campus ministry, and Cultural Liaison Coordinator for more than 30 years. As part of his dedication to community service and interfaith relations, some of his civic involvements and awards included serving as longtime chairman of the Community Relations Commission of the City of Springfield; and chairman of the Greater Springfield Black-Jewish dialogue and the Western Massachusetts Interfaith Council. He was recipient of the Order of William Pynchon Award from the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, which recognizes those citizens who have rendered distinguished service to the community.

Rabbi Gurland is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Anne and Michael Chernick and Ellen and Craig Piper; five grandchildren, Jacob, Zachary, and Abigail Chernick and Max and Molly Magerman; and his nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Harvey Gurland. Memorial contributions may be made to Elms College Library for additions to the Rabbi Jerome Gurland Interfaith Collection; and the Sinai Temple Rabbi Jerome S. Gurland Human Relations Fund. ASCHER-ZIMMERMAN FUNERAL HOME


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