An era in recent Roslyn history came to an end last week, when Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin, the first rabbi at Temple Sinai passed away. He was 85.
At the time of his death, Rabbi Rubin was serving at United Hebrew Temple in Benton, IL. In addition to serving as the first full-time rabbi at Temple Sinai, he was, for many years, a rabbi at Congregation Temple Israel in Creve Coeur, MO, a suburb of St. Louis.
A World War II veteran who served in the Army's 2nd Armored Division, Rabbi Rubin came to Roslyn in 1949. In those days, the current Temple Sinai on Roslyn Road had not yet been constructed and so, services were held at the Roslyn Presbyterian Church on East Broadway. That interfaith spirit was captured in a program, The Roslyn Story, which appeared on the popular Tex McCreary radio program.
Rabbi Rubin served the Roslyn community for 18 years. In 1967, he became a senior rabbi at the Creve Coeur synagogue.
In St. Louis, Rabbi Rubin also taught Jewish thought at St. Louis University, while serving as president of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association.
Even though he hadn't been in Roslyn for nearly four decades, Rabbi Rubin's death touched a chord with people both in New York and across the United States who remembered his time at Temple Sinai.
"The loss of Rabbi Rubin is a loss to society," wrote Roslyn native Phyllis Rosen in a guest book located on The St. Louis Post-Dispatch web page. "Rabbi Rubin was my rabbi from the time I was a child. He took me through my Bat Mitzvah, confirmation, graduation, and marriage, all at Temple Sinai. He also rescued a group of us from a boating accident on Lake Buel in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. We screamed for God---and Rabbi Rubin appeared. My life has been enriched by having him for guidance, counseling and a beautiful friendship," added Ms. Rosen, who now lives in Delray Beach, FL.
"I knew Rabbi Rubin from the time I was in religious school kindergarten in Roslyn," added Marilyn Berliner-Portnow of Bayside, writing in that same guest book. "Temple Sinai was his first congregation. He was revered and loved by his congregants and was a sweet, gentle soul."
Other tributes came from people in both the St. Louis area and from Benton. Herman Kriegshauser of Clarkson Valley, MO and a member of the Jefferson Barracks Chapel Committee, hailed Rabbi Rubin as a "fine gentleman and great supporter of our nation's military and veterans."
Rabbi Rubin is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ruth Ann; a son, Dr. David Rubin of New Rochelle, NY; and two daughters, Amy Rubin Schottland of South Orange, NJ; and Carol Rubin of St. Louis. He is also survived by a brother, Chester A. Rubin of Brookline, MA, and eight grandchildren, Sarah, Charlie, Emma and Daniel Rubin; Elliot and Laura Schottland; and Rebecca and Hannah Rubin-Schlansky.