Anera Mourns the Death of Rabbi Everett Gendler

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We mourn the loss of one of our cherished members of the Anera community: Rabbi Everett Gendler. Rabbi Gendler died on April 1, 2022 at the age of 93 in Massachusetts, where he lived with his wife, Mary.

Everett and Mary Gendler

The rabbi’s life was an inspiration to all those who followed and knew him. Long active in movements for social justice, nonviolent social change, and environmentally responsible living, he spent time in jail with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and at various times served on the executive committees of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Jewish Peace Fellowship, and the War Resisters League. His published writings have dealt with issues of peace, active nonviolence, vegetarianism, liturgical renewal, and nature elements in religious tradition. (Please read this wonderful obituary in The Forward about his environmental activism.)

Rabbi Gendler was an Anera donor for 42 years and he served on the Anera Advisory Council for the last 22 years of his life.

Rabbi Gendler (left) was active in the civil rights community, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Some remembrances from follow members of the Anera community

“When I arrived at Anera some five years ago,” remembers Anera President Sean Carroll, “I was told of Rabbi Gendler’s longstanding and important support of Anera and our work. And I was soon fortunate to meet him. In our interactions, even if occasional and brief, I was always struck by how focused on and committed to our work he was, even as I knew that Anera and Palestinian rights and development are just a small part of the many, many causes and organizations for which he fought. I want his family to know how greatly appreciative and honored we are for that.”

“Everett was among the most principled and compassionate human beings I have known,” remembers fellow advisory council member and friend, Sara Roy. “His commitment to reconciliation, justice, and peace was defining and he lived those values every day of his long and productive life. His presence in our world made an incontestable difference. His work was transformative not only for those of us who knew him but also for those who did not. His legacy is immense and he will continue to serve as an example of the greatness that one individual can achieve.”

“I did not know Rabbi Gendler well but he was someone that I held in great admiration and respect,” says Ellen Siegel, another fellow advisory council member. “He was a fellow Jew associated closely with Anera and he was a rabbi. I always looked forward to seeing him at Anera’s annual dinner fundraisers and chatting with him. He was usually accompanied by his grandson. Rabbi Gendler always spoke words of wisdom, was dedicated to peace and justice, and understood the suffering of the Palestinians. He was, in my estimation, what it meant to be a rabbi morally. I am glad that I knew him.

“Rabbi Gendler and his wife Mary have a home here in Pelican Cove in Sarasota, Florida, where I now live full-time,” says Laurie Kassman, former Anera staffer and board member. “He was a treasured member of our Florida community. My favorite image of him? Speeding around Pelican Cove on his three-wheeler with his longish white hair flowing in the breeze, always with a smile and wave. He always looked so at peace with himself and the world around him. Another memory is meeting him and his grandson at an Anera gala. ‘Why?’ – I asked? His response: so the next generation will understand and carry on Anera’s good work.”

This is a sad loss from our close and committed Anera community. Rabbi Gendler was a gentle, giving and inspiring person – and so passionate about the work Anera does. We are going to miss him very much.

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