Aryeh Hirschfield, a Portland, Ore., rabbi, died on Jan. 6 during a snorkeling accident in Mexico. Hirschfield led the P’nai Or congregation, which meets in southeast Portland. His memorial service was held at Congregation Neveh Shalom on Jan. 12. According to the Jewish Review, more than 1,000 people attended the service.
Hirschfield was ordained in 1985 and began a congregation – Havurah Shir Hadash – in Ashland, Ore., the same year. In 1991, Hirschfield began making occasional trips to Portland to lead Sabbath services for a growing congregation. Eventually, the group formed the P’nai Or community, and Hirschfield moved to Portland in 1996 to take the position of rabbi there.
Friends remember Hirschfield primarily for his music and for his investment in inter-faith work. Hirschfield sang and composed music that he based mostly on Jewish sacred texts. He also served as co-chair for the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland and spoke at Christian and Muslim events. The P’nai Or congregation established a Web site to remember Hirschfield at https://rememberingrabbiaryeh.wordpress.com/.
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