Hartford Seminary Alumnus Rabbi Leonard Helman Remembered as “Rabbi Different”

The Hartford Seminary community mourns the passing of Rabbi Leonard Alfred Helman, 86, a respected Reform rabbi, lawyer and Gold Point Master bridge player, who died on June 6, 2013 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Memorial services were held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe.

Know in Santa Fe as ?Rabbi Different,? Rabbi Helman was recognized for his sense of humor, his ability to connect with a wide variety of community members and his interests in fields ranging from law and championship bridge to medical ethics and the spiritual life of his congregation. He culminated his career as spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Tikva, returning to Santa Fe at their request in 1995 where he remained founding rabbi for life.

A Hartford native, Rabbi Helman was born in 1926, later serving in the US Army and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford in 1948. He was ordained in 1955 after graduating with honors from the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati.

Hartford Seminary was another important place of religious study for Rabbi Helman. He pursued graduate studies in theology at the Seminary from 1955-58 and again from 1965-67 as well as studying at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-IR) in Los Angeles and serving congregations in both those communities.

Rabbi Helman subsequently obtained a law degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Doctorate of Honorary letters from HUC, as well as continuing to serve congregations in several cities. Rabbi Helman arrived in Santa Fe in 1974 and became the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom, where he remained for 17 years before assuming other positions.
For more information about Rabbi Helman and his career, please consult his obituary in the Intermountain Jewish News: http://www.ijn.com/obits/125-obits/4022-rabbi-leonard-helman

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