Rabbi Ted Alexander, longtime B’nai Emunah leader, 95

Rabbi Ted Alexander, the German-born Holocaust refugee who served for decades as spiritual leader of San Francisco’s Congregation B’nai Emunah, died of kidney failure on Oct. 4 at his Danville home. He was 95.

Rabbi Ted Alexander

A fourth-generation Conservative rabbi, Alexander fled his native Germany in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II. He found refuge in Shanghai, China, which provided a haven for thousands of European Jews escaping Hitler.

After arriving in the United States, the rabbi helped found Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. In 1968, Alexander came to B’nai Emunah, which was founded in 1949 by fellow Holocaust refugees. He was presiding in 1975 when the congregation moved to its present location on Taraval Street in the Sunset District. Alexander retired in 2005.

“My whole life, I have been devoted to do my little bit to erase some of the damages done in my home, which was Germany,” he said in a 2002 J. interview. “If I consider one thing a real success, it’s the hundreds of people I’ve brought to observant Judaism. Every time I convert someone in the mikvah, I greet them by telling them that you are making up for one of the 6 million.”— dan pine