Sanibel Island Rabbi Receives "Rare Honor" From Vanderbilt

Last night, Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs was officially named Distinguished Alumnus of 2017 by Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN. Rabbi Fuchs, DMin'92, is the first Jew in the history of VDS to receive this award.
Rabbi Fuchs Accepting Award from Dean Emilie Townes
Rabbi Fuchs Accepting Award from Dean Emilie Townes
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Oct. 18, 2017 - PRLog -- To be considered for the Distinguished Alumnus Award, one must demonstrate excellence and distinction in justice-making through their work in congregational ministry, religious institutions, ecumenical organizations, community–based organizations, government or other social institutions.

"I am humbled and proud that Vanderbilt Divinity School has recognized me in this way, particularly since I have learned that it is rare for a Christian Divinity School to recognize a Jew in this fashion."

Rabbi Stephen Fuchs assumed the pulpit at Bat Yam Temple of the Islands in September. He is also rabbi emeritus at Congregation Beth Israel, has been a strong advocate for universal health care, playing a significant role in the passage of legislation for access to quality, affordable health care in Connecticut. He is a former president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. During his extensive travels, Fuchs and his wife, Victoria, have visited many churches and schools in Germany to help educate young people about the significance of the Holocaust. His overarching message to the German students is this:

"Wir können die Vergangenheit nicht ungeschehen machen ..."

"We cannot undue the past, but the future is ours to shape."

The rabbi is the author of four books: The first book, What's in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives, is based on his Vanderbilt doctoral dissertation and has been translated into German, Russian and Spanish. Additional publications include ToraHighlights; Why the Kof? Getting the Best of Rabbi Fuchs, a collection of his essays and blog posts, and Why Triple Chai?

The award dinner and ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 17 at the University Club of Nashville.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Susan Shuman at 205.602.0044 or email at

Susan Marie Shuman

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Page Updated Last on: Oct 18, 2017

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