Rabbi Mike Stern, founder of Rabbi Without Walls, has died.
Stern and his wife, Denise, founded Rabbi Without Walls several years ago, when they returned to the Philadelphia area after 11 years living away. The couple hosted thousands of people in their home for Shabbat or community classes, according to the Jewish Exponent. The goal was to get participants more involved with the Jewish community.
“The idea of Rabbi Without Walls is not to be its own community, not to be its own synagogue or anything like that,” Stern told the Exponent in an article from September of 2018. “It’s a gateway to the rest of the community. It works together with all the other Jewish organizations in terms of helping to get people involved in the outreach.”
When he and his wife lived in the area before, they were part of the group that founded Aish Philadelphia, where Stern also served as educational director, according to the Rabbi Without Walls site.
In October, Stern suffered multiple life-threatening cardiac events, according to a GoFundMe that raised $110,097 to pay for his medical and living expenses. More than 800 people donated.
Funeral services were held on June 24.