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Rabbi Gilbert L. Shoham

Obituary
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Shoham, Rabbi Gilbert L.
Age 81 - Apr 20, 2012

Overland Park, KS. Passed away at the Mid-America Specialty Hospital in Overland Park, KS. Loving husband, father, grandfather, and teacher. Gil graduated high school from the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore. He earned a B.A. in chemistry and was ordained as a rabbi from Yeshiva University, New York; an M.A. in the philosophy of religion from McGill University, Montreal; a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Gil was a dynamic and charismatic leader who founded the Shaarey Zedek Congregation and the Emek Hebrew Academy in Los Angeles at a time when there were no such Jewish orthodox institutions in the San Fernando Valley. He also served the pulpits of Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in Montreal, and Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, KS. He served as president of the Rabbinical Council of California, vice president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He was a member of the Rabbinical 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), wherein he discusses the fallacy of imposing beliefs which, by nature, cannot be substantiated. He understood and appreciated the pragmatic and humane aspects of Jewish law. He also wrote articles in "Jewish Education," "The Reconstructionist," "Horizon," and the "Kansas City Jewish Chronicle." His father and both grandfathers were rabbis schooled in the Slobodka Yeshiva of Lithuania, which for centuries was the intellectual capital of Eastern European Jewry. His mentor at Yeshiva University was Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, one of the greatest Jewish mind of the 20th century. 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 pride in his son's, daughter's, and grandson's accomplishments. In 1982, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 3 months to get his affairs in order. Typical of his strong will, he refused to accept this prognosis, and two weeks later attended his son's graduation from medical school in New York. Over the years, he battled a number of medical challenges with strength and determination. Gil was preceded in death by his parents, Rabbi Jehiel Ber Shoham and Ethel Marcus Shoham, and by his first wife, Dorothy Cohen Shoham. He is survived by his second wife, Sharon Lowenstein Shoham; his children, Dr. Steven (Susie) Shoham, three grandchildren, Daniel Shoham, Deuce Janisch-Shoham and Stella Tolentino, Los Angeles; Cynthia Shoham Follick (Joshua) , Omaha; four Lowenstein sons: Lon (Cathy), Kansas City; Glenn (Nicole), Houston; John (Amy), Chicago; and Reed (Melanie Hanan), London; 12 Lowenstein grandchildren; siblings, Faye Mishkin, Brooklyn, NY; Rabbi Sidney (Jewel) Shoham, Montreal; and Jake Shoham, Los Angeles; his first wife's siblings, Jerry and Jean Cohen Friedman, Los Angeles; Abraham and Hazel Cohen, Montreal; and Barry and Esther Cohen Schwartz, Montreal; and numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Sunday, April 22, at the Louis Memorial Chapel, in Kansas City, MO and Monday, April 23 at Groman Eden Mortuary in Mission Hills, CA. Burial followed in Eden Memorial Park, 11500 Sepulveda Boulevard Mission Hills, CA. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Congregation BIAV, 9900 Antioch, Overland Park KS 66212 or the philanthropy of your choice.
Online condolences may be shared at www.louismemorialchapel.com, (816) 361-5211 or www.gromanedenmortuary.com (818) 365-7151.
Published in Omaha World-Herald on Apr. 24, 2012
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