Stanley M. Kessler
1923 - 2019
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Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler (Rabbi emeritus of Beth El Temple, West Hartford, CT), B.A. Yeshiva University, M.A. and Ordination- Jewish Theological Seminary, and multiple honorary doctorates died Thursday morning May 30 2019. Born in Bethlehem, PA in 1923 he was the beloved husband of Maurine Evnen Kessler, who preceded him in passing in 2011. He is survived by his children, Abigail Kessler-Hanna, MD, and Jonathan J. Kessler, and a granddaughter, Georgine Hoge. He is mourned by a brother and sister-in-law Arnold and Naomi Kessler, and numerous nephews and nieces originating from the Philadelphia and Lincoln Nebraska regions, all of whom he loved dearly.After his baccalaureate degree Stanley Kessler followed the call to arms in WWII, by joining the Air Force, flying 18 missions in a Liberator bomber over Italy and Austria. Back in civilian life, he returned to academic studies to become ordained as a Rabbi. Rabbi Kessler and his wife Maurine ministered to many congregations including in Springfield IL and Halifax Nova Scotia. During this time, they made many pilgrimages to the newly formed state of Israel. In 1954 Rabbi Kessler took an appointment as Rabbi to Beth El Temple in West Hartford, CT where he called home to this day. He was named Rabbi Emeritus in 1992 upon his retirement. He loved his congregants, ministering to them in time of need and sharing their joys and milestones, but his pulpit ranged far beyond suburban West Hartford. He was a loud voice as a Freedom Rider in the call against racial discrimination in 1963 and marched with Martin Luther King in Birmingham and Selma Alabama. He was among some of the first to join with King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, his professor. During protests they called such marching "praying with one's feet". Throughout his years Rabbi Stanley Kessler championed those who unjustly had less, by societal biases or by circumstance. In 1967 Kessler travelled to the Soviet Union to meet with persecuted Jews - "the Refusnicks"- and lobbied and fought for their freedom throughout the 1970's. Also, Kessler was an activist against the Viet Nam war. Over the course of his long and distinguished career he continued to speak his mind on a wide range of issues from Middle East peace to human rights. He won numerous awards from organizations such as Truah and served in high-level positions in several national organizations, including chairman of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal.On a personal level he was a lover of poetry, music, nature, skiing and dogs and was an avid reader. A man of integrity, he will be missed by so many.Funeral services will be held Monday, June 3rd at 11am, in the Sanctuary of Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Ave., West Hartford. Interment will follow in Beth El Temple Cemetery, Jackson Street Ext., Avon. Following the interment, reception will take place in Kessler Hall at Beth El Temple. Monday Shiva evening services will be held at 7;30 pm, at Beth El Temple, and additional calling hour following the service until 9pm. During the week, evening Shiva, at Beth El Temple, will be held Tuesday at 7;30pm, Wednesday at 6pm, and Thursday at 7:30pm. Morning Shiva services are Tuesday through Friday at 7am, with all services taking place at Beth El Temple.Contributions honoring Rabbi Stanley Kessler's memory may be made to A/V Israel-Jerusalem and sent c/o Abigail Kessler Hanna, 25 Cassandra Blvd, unit 106 West Hartford, CT 06107 for forwarding to Israel, or to the Alzheimer's Association, Connecticut Chapter, 2000 Executive Blvd, Suite 4B, Southington, CT 06489 or to The Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, NY, NY, 10021. No flowes please.Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. To sign the guest book for Rabbi Stanley Kessler, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com.

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Published in Hartford Courant on May 31, 2019.
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13 entries
June 4, 2019
As a newly arrived student from Israel,Rabbi Stanly Kessler and his wife Maurine (bless her memory),were a family to us.Thier home and haurt were allways open to us .
Our condolences to Avigal , Jonathan and all the congregation of Beth Al TEmple.
Yacob Ben _Haim
June 2, 2019
Rabbi Kessler exemplified the spirituality, moral courage and dignity which so many of us who were privileged to know him have strived for. I can still close my eyes and see him and my father officiating on the Bimah and be transported to a pure space that is so difficult to capture in our daily lives. To Abigail, Jonathan and family, my deepest condolences. Rabbi Kessler will be missed terribly, but his legacy will endure.
Hillel Cohn
June 2, 2019
Rabbi Kessler bat mitzvahed me in 1973. I always admired him as a kind and gentle man. To this day I can remember him placing his hands on my head with that beautiful prayer at the end of the evening service blessing me for all my days. May he rest in peace
Lisa Cremer
June 2, 2019
Dear Abigail,
I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad, Rabbi Stanley Kessler. I know how much you loved and admired him and he felt the same about you. He was so proud his daughter becoming a Doctor. I remember all the help he gave to the Scleroderma Tri-State Foundation - always making sure we had enough pastries and cookies.
I regret that you and I lost touch with each other, but it's not too late to make up for lost time.
Miss you and know I am thinking of you.
Love
Ruth
Ruth Saphirstein
June 2, 2019
Dear Abigail and Jonathan and all of the Kessler family,
Rabbi Kessler will always be in the hearts and memories of my family members. We have been privileged to know him and honoured to have had him in our lives since he and Maurine became cherished friends in Halifax, NS in the early 1950's. His memory will forever be a blessing.
With love and condolences from
Nancy Cieplinski
June 2, 2019
Nancy Cieplinski
June 1, 2019
As a little girl in the 60's I was part of the Beth El Congregation; my great-uncle Lewis Chernoff was one of the first Board of Directors. I have fond memories of going to Friday night services with my family and waiting in line to shake Rabbi Kessler hand and say Shabbat Shalom. He was so tall and handsome, and he looked right into my soul he was larger than life. I loved that feeling and still carry it with me today. My family was very active in the congregation during my youth and I will never forget him. My heart and blessings go out to his family.
AMY CHERNOFF
June 1, 2019
Terry Maloney
May 31, 2019
1961 was the first year of Associate membership at Beth El, and my husband, Norton, of blessed memory, and I were part of that original group. Rabbi Kessler met with us as a group, and visited our homes. When it was time for my oldest daughter, Judy , to become a Bat Mitzvah, Rabbi encouraged her to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah at Beth El. . That was in 1975. After that all the children were welcome to be Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mizvahs. Rabbi Kessler certainly Prayed with his feet. He was an egalitarian, and was a beautiful role model. I remember a sermon he gave in the early 70's, when he talked about how many people worship money instead of G-d. May all of us remember Rabbi Kessler's words of wisdom, his ethics, and his love for humanity.
Mindelle Seltzer
May 31, 2019
Part of the DNA of our family growing up. He will never be forgotten. Condolences to all of those who loved him. May his memory forever be for a blessing.
Barry Herman
May 31, 2019
Please accept my sincere condolences. May God bring everlasting comfort to your hearts and give you the strength to endure this difficult time.
(2 Thessalonians 2:16,17;
May 31, 2019
Dear Kessler Family,

I loved Rabbi Kessler. He is who I will ALWAYS imagine when I think of a Rebbe....forever. I can not think of a time that he was not there for my family. Such a dear man. Please, be well and take great pride in his legacy. Sorry I can not be there to attend his funeral or shiva.
Jane Konover Coppa
May 31, 2019
A life very well lived. He'll be missed by so many.
Alice O'Hara
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