As a high school junior and senior at boarding school, I found Rabbi Gendler to be a most unusual and inspiring leader. Unlike other clergy I’d known, Rabbi Gendler did much of his spiritual work outdoors. Joyfully he built a sukkah every year – joining the students in creating the structure with our own hands. He encouraged the Jewish Student Union, for which he was faculty advisor, to meet either outdoors or in a room with windows providing a panoramic view of Creation.
Rabbi Gendler spoke gently and thoughtfully, always crafting his message to create the surest connection with his listener. His quiet voice was full of enthusiasm and charisma; his ideas mixed Torah with philosophy and a sharp appreciation for the life perspective of the teenager far from home. Many times I was comforted to have his counsel and his company.
Throughout the subsequent decades – more of them than I’d care to admit – Rabbi Gendler has continued to provide sage counsel and inspiration – with his work in Tibetan liberation, with his solar powered synagogue, with his interfaith cooperation efforts, and with very personal and accurate words of wisdom on married life. Now, these many years later, Everett and Mary Gendler are still a vibrant presence for me, my husband, and especially my children, who treasure their visits to the “Gendler Farm” to see Mary’s magnificent resting havens and beautiful landscape design, to take Mary’s wild rides, and to pick vegetables in Everett’s organic garden.
– Claudia Kraut Rimerman
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