Samuel Egal Karff z’l was Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel from 1975 to 1999 when he became Rabbi Emeritus. He spent several years as an Air Force Chaplain and served congregations in Boston, Massachusetts, Montgomery, Alabama, Hartford, Connecticut; Flint, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois.
An honor graduate of Harvard University, he was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where he earned a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree in Rabbinic Theology.
Rabbi Karff authored Agada: The Language of Jewish Faith, The Soul of the Rav, Permission to Believe: Finding Faith in Troubled Times, and wrote the chapters on Judaism for Religions of the World, a text that has gone through three editions and been used in 200 colleges. He taught at Notre Dame, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and Rice University, and was a Visiting Professor in Society and Health at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
He served as editor of the Journal of Reform Judaism, lectured widely in this country and abroad, and was a former President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
Rabbi Karff and his wife Joan, both of blessed memory, were the parents of three lovely daughters, Rachel Karff Weissenstein, Amy Karff Halevy and Elizabeth Karff Kampf, who together have seven beautiful children.