Arthur Lelyveld - Rabbi of Fairmont Temple

10229 Lake Shore Boulevard
Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld
Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld

Arthur Joseph Lelyveld was born in Manhattan on February 6, 1913, to Edward and Dora Lelyveld. He graduated from George Washington High School in Manhattan when he was 15 years old. Arthur attended Columbia College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1933. He earned his master’s degree in Jewish theology and was ordained a rabbi at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A passionate Zionist, Lelyveld served as executive director of the Committee on Unity for Palestine. He played a little-known but instrumental role in obtaining American recognition of the newly formed State of Israel. He was an outspoken advocate for social justice and civil rights. Lelyveld went to Mississippi to help register black voters during 1964. While there, he was beaten and seriously injured by segregationists.

Arthur married Toby Bookholtz, an actress and scholar of Shakespeare. She was born on July 31, 1912. Toby received a bachelor's degree in 1933, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in English literature in 1951, all from Columbia University.

Arthur and Toby had three sons: Joseph born on April 5, 1937, David born on  June 22, 1941, and Michael born on February 27, 1948. The marriage ended in divorce in 1964. Arthur's second marriage, to Teela Stovsky in 1965, lasted 35 years.

Lelyveld served as the rabbi of Fairmont Temple in 1958 and retired in 1986. He then served as a lecturer in Jewish thought at John Carroll University. From 1966 to 1972, he was president of the American Jewish Congress and served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Synagogue Council of America.

Lelyveld suffered a brain tumor and died on April 15, 1996, at Montefiore Nursing Home in Beachwood and buried in Mayfield Cemetery.