The distinguished career of Rabbi Robert M. Benjamin z’l spanned more than three decades of service. He was ordained in 1966 at Hebrew College in Cincinnati. His first pulpit was in Fargo, ND. From there, he served in congregations throughout the Midwest; Windsor, Ontario, Canada; Terre Haute, IN; and Davenport, IA. Rabbi Benjamin came to LI in 1985 when he became the rabbi at Temple Beth Elohim in Old Bethpage.
His philosophy of understanding through knowledge was the basis of his rabbinate and community participation. In every community he taught at colleges and universities, often traveling great distances to small campuses for the Jewish Chataqua Society. His desire for interfaith understanding brought him to serve on planning boards of Jewish Christian Dialogue and assist in developing a chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Rabbi Benjamin wrote and conducted interfaith seders for the Roman Catholic churches.
As a community leader, the Rabbi was involved in mental health activities, served as chairman for the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and participated in various community youth activities. He was honored to be a representative of the Jewish community at the 1979 signing of the Camp David Accord in Washington, DC.
Rabbi Benjamin’s numerous accomplishments are listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in American Jewry and Who’s Who in World Jewry. He was also a contributor to Encyclopedia Judaica.
Rabbi Robert M. Benjamin passed away on June 20, 1999 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. He will be remembered as a beloved Rabbi, esteemed colleague and a gentle, compassionate, caring individual.