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Rabbi Martin S. Weiner, Rabbi Emeritus

A leader in Reform Judaism and Bay Area life

Our rabbi emeritus and a respected voice in the Reform rabbinate for more than 40 years, Rabbi Martin Weiner graduated from San Francisco’s George Washington High School and UC Berkeley. He undertook his rabbinic studies at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he earned his ordination and a master of arts in Hebrew letters in 1964.

Following his ordination, Rabbi Weiner was assistant, associate and co-rabbi at Temple Oheb Shalom of Baltimore, Maryland. While there, he served as chair of the Baltimore chapter of the American Jewish Committee, was on the state board of the ACLU and taught Jewish Religious Thought at Goucher College. He was very committed to the peace movement and to black-Jewish relations.  While in Baltimore, Rabbi Weiner also did extensive graduate work in history at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Rabbi Weiner joined Congregation Sherith Israel as senior rabbi in 1972. He energized the congregation during his 31-year tenure at Sherith Israel, attracting many new members. Known throughout the community for his quest for social justice, particularly in the areas of civil rights, human rights and Soviet Jewry, Rabbi Weiner was a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission for many years. He also has been engaged with Israel through the years, not hesitating to speak his mind as the situation in the Middle East evolved.

Rabbi Weiner served as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Reform Judaism's professional rabbinical association.  Previously he had served as an officer and as a CCAR board member. He currently chairs the CCAR’s ethics process review committee and is a longstanding member of the Reform Pension Board. He also served on the editorial committee for the Reform movement’s new prayer book, Mishkan T’filah.

Rabbi Weiner is hailed as a rabbi’s rabbi; he mentored many associate rabbis who have gone on to prominent congregational careers throughout the U.S. Many of those rabbis, as well as former bar and bat mitzvah students (including Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf) who later became rabbis, came back to Sherith Israel in June 2014, to honor Rabbi Weiner on the 50th anniversary of his ordination. The evening, which packed the sanctuary, brought back many treasured memories for Rabbi Weiner.

Locally, he has been on the boards of the Jewish Community Federation, the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Family and Children's Services. Rabbi Weiner has also served as president of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and as chair of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. He has been honored by the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress. 

In a lighter vein, Rabbi Weiner combined his love of the movies with his love of Jewish tradition and ethics in his “Movies and Midrash” course which he has presented to congregations around the country and in Australia and New Zealand.  And Sherith Israel congregants still recall the “donut walks” Rabbi Weiner took each week with his b’nai mitzvah students. 

His favorite post-retirement activities include traveling with his wife, Karen, spending time with their six grandchildren and officiating at lifecycle events. He also had the pleasure of sharing the bimah for about a year at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle with his son Daniel, senior rabbi there. Rabbi Weiner and Karen also have two daughters, Ellen and Elizabeth, both attorneys.

Before Rabbi Weiner retired in 2003, the congregation established the Rabbi Martin S. Weiner Educational Fund Fund, which underwrites an annual lecture series with notable Jewish scholars. 

Tue, June 25 2024 19 Sivan 5784