, rabbi laureate of St. Paul's Temple of Aaron
, will be honored today by the city he
has called home for the last 55 years.In recognition of his
long service to the community, the St. Paul City Council
will name the stretch of Hartford Avenue between Mount Curve and Mississippi River boulevards Raskas Road.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Raskas
, 82, reminiscing about the time congregants had to walk on mud to come to the synagogue in the mid-1950s.A St. Louis native, he
moved here with his
wife, Laeh, and their first child in 1951 to become an assistant rabbi at the temple, where he
served until 1989.Raskas, who was ordained in 1949 at New York's Jewish Theological Seminary, was among the first religious leaders in St. Paul to understand the need for a multifaith dialogue, said Ken Agranoff, executive director of the Temple of Aaron.
...In the late '60s, Raskas taught Hebrew to nuns at the College of St. Catherine and, during the '80s and '90s, helped build up the Jewish studies department at Macalester College.Raskas was Macalester's first Jewish associate chaplain.
In 2003, Raskas
put together the exhibit "A Precious Legacy: The Ten Commandments in Ten Versions," which is now on permanent display at the school's DeWitt Wallace Library
.He was a member of President Carter's Commission on the Holocaust, which helped create the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.Raskas
cites St. Paul as a welcoming place that reached out to the Jewish people who first came to the city about 100 years ago.Since that time, he
said, social prejudices have disappeared and multifaith relationships have become stronger.