Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman z"l
Leonard I. Beerman (April 9, 1921–December 24, 2014) was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and two degrees—a Masters in Hebrew Letters (1949) and an honorary Doctor of Divinity (1974)—from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He also was honored with doctoral degrees from Lafayette College (2001), and Washington & Jefferson College (2007). The Founding Rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, California, he served that congregation for 37 years until his retirement in 1986.
Throughout his career, he was involved in issues of peace and social justice, co-founding the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race, serving as Vice President of the Jewish Peace Fellowship, the Blue Ribbon Committee for Affordable Housing in the City of Los Angeles and as a board member of Human Rights Watch (California South) and Death Penalty Focus of California. During his career, Rabbi Beerman was a vital member of organizations such as SANE, the International Center for Peace in the Middle East, the Greater Los Angeles Partnership for the Homeless, the Jewish Fund for Justice, the Workmen’s Circle and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, as well as the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East, the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities, and the Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative. He served on the Institutional Review Board of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and as the beloved Rabbi-in-Residence at All Saints Church in Pasadena.
Leonard married Martha Fechheimer (1923–1986) in 1945, and they had three daughters: Judith (Neil O’Hanlon), Eve and Elizabeth (Lewis Rothbart). In 1988, he married Joan Willens and welcomed her children Elara and Scott (Marina) into the family. He was a loving grandfather to Matthew, Kate (1985–1993), Emily, Michael, Emma, Leo and Evan.