On the Passing of Shamai Kanter

Over the course of Rabbi Kanter's 26 year tenure at Temple Beth El he guided us into becoming a more egalitarian congregation. Thirteen year old girls were allowed a Sat. morning Bat Mitzvah (rather than Fri. night) and allowed to recite the blessings before and after reading Haftorah (before that their fathers recited the blessings). He patiently educated the congregation over a period of years to understand and accept the concepts of allowing women to have aliyot and eventually be counted in the minyon. TBE was a very traditional congregation and he very patiently educated and guided us by intellectually presenting both sides of major issues in a calm manner and insisting on votes by the entire congregation from knowledge regarding both viewpoints of major changes so as not to allow emotion to override thoughtfulness and split the congregation. 

Rabbi Kanter was a quiet, kind, intelligent and very decent man who was generally well regarded. He worked well with other professionals and never behaved in a territorial manner. His sermons reflected his deep thought yet his summer sermons were usually lighter reflecting his sense of humor.

Past President

Merle Markus