Thursday, June 6, 2013

R.I.P. Rabbi Helman

I'm not Jewish, but Leonard Helman was my rabbi. I've been saying that saying that for 20 years or so, ever since I heard him give a wonderful. moving and funny eulogy at the funeral of the late writer/singer Jackie McCarty.

Rabbi Helman died today at St. Vincent Hospital at the age of 86. Read his obit HERE

One of the first times I really talked with Helman was back in the late '80s when he called me because he was mad at me for putting his age in some story I'd written. But by the end of the conversation, he wasn't angry anymore. He invited me to lunch at The Shed.

I remember seeing him one night years ago tearing up the dance floor at Vanessie's. After that I jokingly called him "Rabbi (slash) swinger Leonard Helman." He seemed to get a kick out of that.

In his later years, I'd frequently see the rabbi here at the state Capitol. He was one of the chaplains for the Legislature and often gave the invocations before morning floor sessions. I'm sure going to miss seeing him at future sessions.