Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gary Tobin, a friend to interfaith professionals

No doubt you have read the articles about Gary Tobin, researcher, pioneer, founder of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco. Google his name and you'll find wonderful articles praising him. One of his most meaningful legacies is surely Be'chol Lashon, an organization that "reaches out to Jews of color and helps educate the mainstream community about Jewish diversity." Here in the San Francisco bay area the majority of multiracial Jews and Jewish families are aware of the organization. Thank goodness his wife, Diane Tobin, will keep it going.

Another gift he gave to us was his focus on bringing people INTO Judaism. Interfaith couples, seekers, Jews by Choice, who ever wanted to be part of Judaism, Gary said, bring 'em in. Why waste time fussing about "how Jewish" are they? They want to be a Jew? Fine.

Finally, I must say that attending Gary's funeral made one thing crystal clear. Gary's greatest project, with his wife, Diane, was his family. His six children each spoke lovingly of him and of each other. He was a good dad who created and sustained an amazing family. May we all learn from him that it is possible and necessary to be even better at home than we are at work.

Here are some links to articles online:





His website, www.garytobin.org, has a full list of media coverage.