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Mark G. Loeb ’67

A picture of Mark Loeb

Mark G. Loeb ’67, October 7, 2009, in Milan, Italy. Mark earned his BA from Reed in general literature, and began rabbinic studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1975, he received rabbinic ordination at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He joined the Beth El Congregation in Pikesville, Maryland, as assistant rabbi in 1976, and was appointed senior rabbi four years later, a position he held until retirement in 2008. After his death, many people praised his powerful and wide-ranging intellect, his scholarship, and his efforts to promote learning as an important key to a meaningful life. Friends remembered his love of culture, travel, and food, and his immersion in current events. In 2001, Benjamin Cardin of the Maryland House of Representatives honored Mark's work at Beth El Congregation, and also spoke of his work nationally: “He has championed any number of social and interfaith causes to improve the common good of people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.” Mark was national president of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. He chaired the board of Baltimore Hebrew University and promoted interfaith dialogue as a co-founder of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies. Maryland governor Martin O'Malley said that Mark lived “the timeless Talmudic notion that 'the highest form of wisdom is kindness,' always standing up for our most vulnerable citizens, always fighting for social justice, always pursuing Tikkun Olam, repair of the world.” Fresh out of Reed, Mark said: “In reality, I am probably a Jew by inclination and a Buddhist by Lloyd [Reynolds]. As someone said recently, I am likely a 'Judist!'” Many years later, he was quoted as saying: “It's the work of a lifetime to be a faithful adherent of one tradition, much less to try to belong to every tradition. But if you belong to one tradition and are thoroughly grounded there, there's no reason why one cannot establish friendships that can cross any and every tradition.” Survivors include two sisters.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2010

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