June 18, 2019

Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Jewish Environmental Activist, Dies at 65

Rabbi Lawrence Troster in 2014 (Screenshot via ELI Talks/YouTube)

Rabbi Lawrence Troster, a leading Jewish environmental activist, has died.

Troster was the spiritual leader at Kesher Israel Congregation in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and was involved in a number of Jewish and interfaith environmentalist initiatives. He also served as rabbinic director for J Street, the liberal Middle East policy group.

He died Friday at the age of 65. An email announcement from his family said he died “after a long illness.”

Troster was the founder and coordinator of  Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors For the Earth, a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps, the rabbinic adviser for Hazon and rabbinic fellow for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

Troster was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and taught at a number of Jewish and religious institutions, including his alma mater, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Academy for Jewish Religion, Union Theological Seminary and Drew Theological School. JTS awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his more than 25 years of rabbinic service.

He frequently lectured on and wrote about the religious perspective on environmentalism, bioethics, and Judaism and modern science, including as a contributor to HuffPost.

Troster is survived by his wife, Elaine Kahn; two daughters, including Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, the deputy director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and their husbands; three granddaughters and one grandson.