PLAINFIELD, NJ - Rabbi Michael L. Abraham, 75, of Plainfield, NJ, father of Temple Sholom of Fanwood/Scotch Plains Rabbi Joel Abraham, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
Born in New York, N.Y., Rabbi Abraham was raised in Baltimore, Md., and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1962 with a B.A. in physics and mathematics. He later served in England as a student rabbi. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1965, and received a MAHL at the same time. In 1990, he received an honorary doctor of divinity from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Rabbi Abraham served in the United States Army from 1965 to 1968 as a chaplain. His first stateside position as rabbi was Temple Beth El in Somerville, N.J., where he served for 18 years. He was the past president of the Somerville area Ministerial Association. He was on the board of trustees of the Somerville Senior Citizens Housing Commission, a project which built housing for seniors with limited income. Rabbi Abraham was a founding member of the Somerset County Jewish Family Service. Rabbi
Abraham was a recipient of the National Council of Jewish Women Hannah G. Solomon Award in 1971 for service to the youth. He was president of MAFTY, was awarded two lifetime memberships to NFTY, and served as rabbinic advisor to JFTY for seven years for the founding of the Urban Mitzvah Corps program, a past president of the NJWHVARR, and active member of the CCAR and its regions.
Rabbi Abraham also served at Temple Beth Or in Bluebell, Pa., and Temple Shalom in Norwalk, Conn. He was the senior rabbi of New Zealand, where he served at Temple Sinai in Wellington, New Zealand (and all parts south) for six years, retiring to actively grandparent Avital, Ezri and Elijah. He was predeceased by his brother, James Abraham. Surviving are his wife of almost 51 years, Sandra Faust Abraham; sons, Joel and Daniel, their wives, Michelle and Vivian, and beloved grandchildren, Elijah, Ezri, and Avital. Donations in Rabbi Abraham's memory can be made to the Temple Sholom Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.