Alumni Stories

Rabbi Harold S. White

Jewish Chaplaincy Director and Senior Jewish Chaplain, Georgetown University

Location: Philodemic Room, Healy Hall, Georgetown University
Producer/Interviewer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10)

Rabbi Harold S. White

Rabbi White first came to Washington in the summer of 1968. For more than forty years, he has created an interreligious home at Georgetown, which started with a faithful question: “Why would a Jesuit university need a rabbi when Georgetown did not have any Jewish students?”  A Jesuit replied, “We want you to teach the Christian students about Jesus—that he was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew—so the students will better understand the beginnings of Christianity and its relationship to Judaism.” The answer intrigued Rabbi White, and he soon became the first full-time rabbi hired by a Catholic university in the United States. He considers that unique role completely logical.

Over the years, Rabbi White has developed a deep appreciation for the connections between Judaism and Jesuit values. One of his favorite memories is the creation of the “Hallelujah Shabbat,” which he believes reflects a “shared spiritual journey” and embodies what he calls “uniquely Georgetown” traditions.

Additional Resources

The Washington Post
“On Faith: Why I Witness Interfaith Marriages”

The New York Times
“Pearl Bailey’s Love Is Remembered at Her Funeral”

University News
“Keeping the Faith: Rabbi Inspires Interreligious Understanding”  

Georgetown’s Campus Ministry

Georgetown’s Jewish Student Association

One response to “Rabbi Harold S. White”

  1. It is obvious I have one deficit in my Georgetown education, not having met and known Rabbi White.

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