Rabbi Maurice Lamm, Author of 'The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning,' Dies

Eighty-six-year-old influential rabbi dies surrounded by family.

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Rabbi David Lamm (inset) and two of his books.
Rabbi David Lamm (inset) and two of his books.Credit: Facebook, screenshot

Rabbi Maurice Lamm, the author of “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” and several other notable Jewish books, has died.

Lamm died Wednesday night “surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren singing him to the heavens,” his granddaughter Lisa Lamm Pasternak said in a Facebook post. He was 86.

His son, Rabbi David Lamm, also announced his death in a Facebook post, saying: “He meant so much to so many.”

The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning,” first issued in 1969, has been updated to include 21st century topics such as organ donation, autopsy, the question of a woman’s right to say Kaddish, mourning practices related to the stillborn and converts to Judaism mourning their non-Jewish parents.

Lamm also was the author of “The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage,” “Becoming a Jew” and “Living Torah in America,” among other popular books.

He was a professor and held the chair in professional rabbinics at Yeshiva University’s seminary in New York, where he was ordained and also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The school also recognized Lamm with an honorary doctorate and he served on the faculty of its Stern College for Women.

Lamm served as spiritual leader of Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills, California, one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in the United States, from 1971 to 1984.

He was the field director of U.S military chaplains whose duties took him around the world. Lamm represented the U.S. Department of Defense during the Vietnam War with the civilian equivalent of major general.

Lamm was the president of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice.

His brother, Rabbi Norman Lamm, served as the chancellor at Yeshiva University until his retirement in 2013 following a 60-year association with Y.U.

Along with his son David, Lamm is survived by his wife, Shirley; his daughter, Dodi Lamm, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a daughter, Judith Young.

Lamm’s funeral was held Thursday in New York. He was scheduled to be buried in Israel.

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