|Thursday, April 26 2012 11:00|
Loving husband, father, grandfather, and teacher, Rabbi Gilbert Lewis Shoham, 81, of Overland Park, passed away Friday, April 20, 2012, at the Mid-America Specialty Hospital in Overland Park.
Funeral services were held Sunday, April 22, at the Louis Memorial Chapel. Burial was in Eden Memorial Park, Mission Hills, Calif. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Congregation BIAV, 9900 Antioch, Overland Park, KS 66212, or the philanthropy of your choice.
Gil graduated from the Talmudical Academy, Baltimore. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Yeshiva College, New York; ordination from Yeshiva University, New York; a Master of Arts degree in the philosophy of religion from McGill University, Montreal; a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California; and an M.B.A. degree from Rockhurst College, Kansas City.
Gil was a dynamic and charismatic leader who founded the Shaar Zedek Congregation and the Emek Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles at a time when there were no such Jewish Orthodox institutions in the valley. He also served the pulpits of Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in Montreal, and Kehiliath Israel Synagogue in Kansas City. He served as president of the Rabbinic Council of Southern California, vice president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. He was a member of the Rabbinic Council of America and the Rabbinical Association of Greater Kansas City.
Gil authored “A Quest for Clarity in Religious Thought: A Case Against Fundamentalism,” Dorrance, 2006, as well as articles in Jewish Education, The Reconstructionist, Horizon and the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. His father and both grandfathers were rabbis schooled in the yeshiva of Slobotka, Lithuania, for centuries the intellectual capital of Eastern European Jewry. His mentor at Yeshiva University was Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, arguably the greatest Jewish mind of the 20th century. He understood and appreciated the pragmatic and humane aspects of Jewish law and was dismayed by and never succumbed to the politicized, non-intellectual turn to the right that captured much of all three Abrahamic religions during the last decades of his life.
Gil felt fortunate to have the love of two good women, Dorothy Cohen Shoham, to whom he was married for 47 years, and Sharon Lowenstein Shoham, to whom he was married for 10 years. He took great pride in his daughter’s, son’s and grandson’s accomplishments. Physically as well as mentally strong, he survived “terminal” lung cancer in his 40s and accepted recent disabilities with humor and grace.
Gil was preceded in death by his parents, Rabbi Jehiel Ber Shoham and Ethel Marcus Shoham, and by his first wife.
He is survived by his second wife; his children, Dr. Steven (Susie) Shoham, Los Angeles, and Cynthia Shoham Follick (Joshua), Omaha; four Lowenstein sons, Lon (Cathy), Kansas City, Glenn (Nicole), Houston, John (Amy), Chicago, and Reed (Melanie Hanan), London; three grandchildren in Los Angeles, Daniel Shoham, Deuce Janisch and Stella Tolentino; 12 Lowenstein grandchildren; siblings, Faye Mishkin, Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Sidney and Jewel Shoham, Montreal; Jake Shoham, Los Angeles; and his first wife’s siblings, Jerry and Jean Cohen Friedman, Los Angeles, Abraham and Hazel Cohen, Montreal, and Esther Cohen and Barry Schwartz, Montreal; and numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Online condolences may be shared at www.louismemorialchapel.com.
Arr: The Louis Memorial Chapel, 816-361-5211.