Rabbi Frank Waldorf grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended religious school and
youth group at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. He studied chemical engineering and sociology at Johns
Hopkins University. He was ordained on the Cincinnati Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion in 1964. For four years he was an Army Chaplain, including three years in Frankfurt,
Germany. He was an assistant to Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn at Temple Israel of Boston, and served at
Reform congregations in Winchester and Staunton, Virginia, and Kokomo, Indiana.
When Rabbi Waldorf started at Temple Sinai in 1974, he set about the task of teaching torah, in
synagogue services, in adult education, and in the religious school. His calming and reassuring nature has
served families well through both joyous occasions and trying circumstances. With a background in
science, he has maintained a rational and pragmatic approach to religion. He urges Jews to bring into
their lives on a regular schedule the symbols and rituals of Judaism so as to inspire teachable moments
when values can be shared and discussed in a meaningful context. He doesn’t believe in the literal
miracles or revelations, but is moved by the way that Jewish religious texts – written at a time when
physical survival was anything but guaranteed – exhibit a wise understanding of human nature. Rabbi
Waldorf sees the pursuit of a just and compassionate society as one of the primary roles of religion even
if, by doing so, it makes people a little bit uncomfortable. He admires the Prophet Amos who
passionately spoke up for the need to actively pursue justice, and not turn a blind eye to the ills of society
just because you are personally comfortable.
When he came to Temple Sinai, Rabbi Waldorf was looking for a smaller congregation where he
could really get to know the congregants on an individual basis. Over and over again, people say that
their attachment to Temple Sinai is due in large part to the personal connection that they have made with
He notes with considerable pride the outstanding Boston area Jewish educators that began their
distinguished careers at Temple Sinai including Marjorie Berkowitz, Jane Taubenfeld Cohen, Rim
Meirowitz, Leann Shamash and the current education director Heidi Smith Hyde.
While his contributions to Temple Sinai have been numerous, Rabbi Waldorf has also made an
impact in the community at large. He has served as president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis and of
the NorthEast Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis; chairman of the JWB Jewish
Chaplains Council and of the CCAR Chaplaincy Committee; convener of the Brookline Clergy
Association; and a panelist on the WBZ-TV A Show of Faith. He has also served on the executive
committees at the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, and
the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. He is currently president of the Association
of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces of the United States, an organization of active, reserve and
retired chaplains who mobilize support for the military chaplaincy.
Rabbi Waldorf has been married for fifty-two years to the former Beth Ruttenberg. They have three adult
children and five grandchildren. In 1989, the Rabbi received an honorary doctorate in divinity from his
alma mater, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.