Samuel E. Karff

Samuel E. Karff is Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, where he served as a congregational rabbi and counselor for several decades. In his current position as Visiting Professor of Society and Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, he teaches medical students in a new program to sensitize future doctors to the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing.

For over twenty years, Rabbi Karff’s weekly radio program in Houston has been popular with listeners of all faiths. Nationally known as a lecturer and teacher, he was former president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the association of the Reform rabbis. A graduate of Harvard University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, he taught religious studies at Rice University, the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, and Notre Dame. Rabbi Karff also served as an Air Force chaplain and as spiritual leader of congregations in Chicago, Flint, and Hartford.

His published books include The Soul of the Rav (Eakin Press, 1999), Agada: The Language of Jewish Faith (KTAV, 1979), and coauthor (with Niels C. Nielsen, Norvin Hein, Grace G. Burford, and Alan Miller) of a college textbook, Religions of the World (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1993).