The death this month of Emanual Muravchik, a lifelong socialist and the onetime leader of the Jewish Labor Committee, highlighted a world that no longer exists — much of it recalled at a memorial service at the JLC last Friday. It also put into sharp relief a contrast between two generations of American Jews.
During 31 years at Columbia University, Rabbi Charles Sheer has seen a succession of political movements wax and wane: anti-war at the beginning, then feminist issues, and gay rights in recent years.
But the rabbi's most poignant memories at the university are about small classes, not sweeping events.
Since becoming the school's Jewish chaplain in 1969, two years after he was ordained by Yeshiva University, Rabbi Sheer has taught classes every semester, usually in Chumash (Torah) or Gemara (Talmud).