Death of Rabbi Adam Feldman Saddens Local Community
By Anne Levin
The sudden death of Rabbi Adam S. Feldman, who has been senior rabbi of The Jewish Center for nearly 15 years, shocked not only members of the congregation, but people from throughout the local community.
Feldman, 55, suffered a heart attack on December 24 while rappelling down a mountain in Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family. Funeral services were held Sunday at The Jewish Center, and observance of shiva is continuing through Friday, January 3 at the Feldmans’ home and at the synagogue.
“He was a very compassionate individual. If there is one word to describe him, that’s it,” said Randy Brett, president of The Jewish Center. “His pastoral skills were excellent. Since I’ve been president of the congregation, people communicate with me about whether they’re happy with the rabbi or not. And I have heard, repeatedly, how well he has dealt with families going through tragedies. I have received many letters from people about how warm and compassionate he was. I think that, universally, people would say that about him.”
Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said Feldman was a trusted friend of the department and a personal friend to him. The rabbi was a founding member of the Princeton Police Department’s Chaplain Program.
“There was not a week that went by that Rabbi Feldman did not call me or stop in to check on the department,” Sutter said in a written statement last week. “His first words were always, ‘How is everybody?’ He took his position as chaplain very seriously, and he had a genuine concern for the well-being of the department and all of its members.”
Sutter added, “I will miss his presence, support, and most of all his friendship, and I know the community and department will as well. Please keep his wife and children in your thoughts and prayers.”
Mayor Liz Lempert said, “Rabbi Feldman was a friend, adviser, partner, and inspiration to so many of us in the Princeton community. Our hearts are heavy with the awful news of his passing.”
Raised in Cherry Hill, Feldman received his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York in 1999. His formal education included receiving a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in Hebraic studies, as well as studying at the Hebrew University and Machon Schechter in Jerusalem.
Among his prior positions, Feldman was involved in a range of youth and teen activities at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, and United Synagogue Youth (USY), and was adult program director and youth community director at the Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center.
Feldman joined The Jewish Center in the summer of 2005 after serving for six years as assistant and associate rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, N.Y. “During his years at The Jewish Center, the congregation made many significant advances,” according to a written statement from the synagogue. “Rabbi Feldman devoted his passion for Judaism, love of teaching, and innovative programming for the benefit of the congregation and community. He was widely respected by his clergy colleagues of all faiths in the greater Princeton area.”
Brett said, “His love of Torah was so evident. When he was able to teach somebody to read from it, his face shone. When teenagers were involved in a project, his personality was just infused with them. And his background was working with teenagers in sports before he became a rabbi. Another thing he was passionate about was Philadelphia sports teams. If you wanted to start a conversation with him, all you had to do was mention a player.”
Feldman is survived by his wife, Sara Bucholtz; their children Talia, Dena, and Ilan Feldman; his parents Leonard and Nikki Feldman; and his sisters Lisa and Amy.
Shiva is continuing for family and friends at the Feldmans’ home Wednesday and Thursday, January 1 and 2, from 8-11:30 a.m. and 2-5 p.m. with Shacharit at 8 a.m. and a Ma’ariv minyan at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, the service is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Shacharit at 8 a.m. A congregational shiva will be held at The Jewish Center, 435 Nassau Street, Wednesday, January 1 from 7-9:30 p.m. For more information, visit thejewishcenter.org.