CSEE mourns the loss of our beloved Board of Directors member, Jane S. Baron Rechtman, who passed away peacefully on March 3.
Jane was passionate in work and life, engaging family, students, colleagues, and causes with stunning intensity. She taught, wrote, explored ideas, volunteered, led, followed and-with a presence distilled from experience and scholarship-graced all lucky enough to have known her.
Jane earned Masters Degrees in Divinity at Union Theological Seminary and Medical Humanities at Drew University, and taught world religions and bioethics at The Masters School in New York. Her legacy lives on through the numerous articles and books she published, including Readings from the World's Religious Traditions and The Word Book: Religion, Sin, and All That Stuff. Her personal blog remains online at theconnectinglines.blogspot.com. Jane was a consummate teacher. Generations of learners have been inspired by her deep knowledge, empathy, optimism, willingness to reach for the new and unexamined, and by her commitment to finding and nurturing the divine spark that lies within each of us.
Her efforts on behalf of organizations dear to her were tireless, including The Ossining Interfaith Youth Core, Arigatou International, and CSEE, the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education. We are grateful for what she gave so generously: her energetic networking, her keen research, thoughtful input and challenges, and warm companionship. Jane was not only a champion for this work, she was a true exemplar. She honored and practiced her own faith tradition while finding personal meaning in integrating practices from other faiths. Jane effortlessly displayed great empathy and love. She took our world into her arms, and tenderly nurtured it into a better place.
The gravity of her recent illness did not distract her from being who she was. Jane remained an undaunted champion for those causes in which she believed. She also remained a teacher, teaching those around her how to die with determination, love, and peace.
Jane is survived by her husband, Neal, and sons Jonathan and Joseph. A memorial service will be held at The Master's School in Dobbs Ferry, NY. For those interested, Jane's family requests that donations be made in her honor to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the Ossining Food Pantry, the Ossining Children's Center, or The Jane Rechtman Memorial Fund at the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education.
Published by New York Times from Mar. 15 to Mar. 16, 2016.