Rabbi Michael L. Abraham, 75, of Plainfield died Dec. 14, 2013. Born in New York City, he was raised in Baltimore.
Rabbi Abraham’s first stateside position as rabbi was at Temple Beth El in Somerville, where he served for 18 years. He was the past president of the Somerville-area Ministerial Association. He was on the board of trustees of the Somerville Senior Citizen’s Housing Commission, a project which built housing for seniors with limited income. He was a founding member of Somerset County Jewish Family Service. He was the recipient of the National Council of Jewish Women Hannah G. Solomon Award in 1971 for youth service. He was president of MAFTY, was awarded two lifetime memberships to NFTY, and served as rabbinic adviser to JFTY for seven years for the founding of the Urban Mitzvah Corps program. He was a past president of the New Jersey-West Hudson Valley Association of Reform Rabbis and an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and its regions.
He also served at Temple Beth Or, Blue Bell, Pa., and at Temple Shalom in Norwalk, Conn., and later became the senior rabbi of New Zealand, where he served at Temple Sinai in Wellington (and all parts south) for six years.
He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1962 with a BA in physics and mathematics. He later served in England as a student rabbi, and was ordained as a rabbi in 1965 at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he also received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters. In 1990, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1968 as a chaplain.
He is survived by his wife of almost 51 years, Sandra Faust Abraham; two sons, Joel (Michelle) and Daniel (Vivian); and three grandchildren.
Services were held Dec. 17 at Temple Sholom in Fanwood, with arrangements by Higgins Home for Funerals, Plainfield. Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Sholom’s Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.