The Rabbi Rifat Sonsino is a friend of Bet Shalom from the very beginning, and he visits us every summer since.
Rabbi Rifat Sonsino is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, Ma., and is a member of the faculty at Boston College's Theology department.
Born in 1938, Rabbi Sonsino attended the University of Istanbul, Turkey, and graduated in 1959 with a degree in law. After serving in the Turkish army as a tank commander, he went to Paris, France, to study at the Institut International d’Etudes Hebraiques. In 1961 he entered the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati from which he received his rabbinic ordination in 1966 with a Masters degree in Hebrew literature.
Rabbi Sonsino holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (1975) in Bible and Ancient Near Eastern studies.
In 1991 the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion bestowed upon Rabbi Sonsino an honorary doctorate in recognition of his 25 years in the Rabbinate.
His articles on Bible and Judaica have appeared in a number of scholarly journals and he is the author of such interesting books as Finding God: Selected Responses (Daniel B. Syme, co-author) (NY: UAHC, 2002, Revised Edition), What Happens After I Die? Jewish Views of Life After Death (Daniel B. Syme, co-author) (NY: UAHC, 1990), Six Jewish Spiritual Paths (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, Nov. 2000), The Many Faces of God; A Reader of Modern Jewish Theologies (NY: URJ Press, 2004) and Did Moses Really Have Horns? And Other Myths About Jews and Judaism (NY: URJ Press, 2009), Vivir como judío, Historia, Religión, Cultura (Palibrio, 2012) and the recent And God Spoke These Words: the Ten Commandments and Contemporary Ethics (URJ Press, 2013).