Former colleagues of the late Rabbi Moshe V. Goldblum, who died in Israel, Sunday, April 3, remembered him Friday for his sincerity, his outreach and how seriously he took his responsibilities as teacher.
Goldblum, who served Beth Shalom Congregation for 24 years before his retirement, and then as rabbi emeritus, worked to strike professional relationships wit his colleagues old and new, rabbis said.
“He welcomed me warmly and we did lots of things together like Thanksgiving services and conversions,” said Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun recalled from the time he assumed the pulpit at Tree of Life Congregation.
But Rabbi Stephen Steindel, who succeeded Goldblum at Beth Shalom, really came to know the man when he came to Pittsburgh in 1973 as rabbi of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills.
“As a rookie and bachelor rabbi coming to Pittsburgh in 1973, I was blessed to have a colleague such as Rabbi Goldblum,” said Steindel, also a rabbi emeritus of Beth Shalom. “I knew he was real. He wasn’t just saying, ‘call me anytime’ then resenting it — no such thing. He was saying ‘I’ve been doing this 20-30 years already, please let me now how I can be of help to you.’ And I took him up on that.”
As a rabbi, Goldblum was more of a teacher and pastor than a social reformer or political activist.
“In terms of teaching he took that very seriously,” Steindel said. “His sermons were not so much of the affairs of the world as the sedra that week and what you could take away from it.”
A 1949 graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary Goldblum came to Beth Shalom in 1963 from the Jacksonville Jewish Center, Jacksonville, Fla. He succeeded the late Rabbi Solomon Moseson.
He also served congregations in Columbus and Mansfield, Ohio, and in New York. He was an Army chaplain from 1945 to 1947.
He moved to Baltimore about five years after retiring from Beth Shalom to assume the pulpit of a smaller congregation there.
The funeral was held Tuesday, April 5, in Israel.
Read next week’s Chronicle for more details.