Charles Sherman, a native of Philadelphia, is Senior Rabbi at Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, “the little shul with the big heart.” Sherman is a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained. In recognition of his accomplishments and innovation, Sherman was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
A man of profound faith and passion, Sherman educates, inspires and comforts through his lectures and writings. He has been a spiritual conscience and thoughtful leader for so many searching for guidance and direction. He has been a staunch advocate for the disability community, in promoting legislative mandates, educational reform and a nurturing, inclusive environment for the “most vulnerable.”
Charles Sherman and his wife Leah are the parents of five children. In 1986, their oldest son, Eyal, suffered a stroke at age four, leaving him quadriplegic and vent dependent. An accomplished artist, who paints with a paintbrush in his mouth, Eyal today lives at home with his parents.
“Eyal’s stroke, and his many, many long hospital stays, the precariousness of his health all these years later, thrust me into a world that I couldn’t have imagined beforehand. It shook me to the core. It made me reexamine many of the beliefs that I had held all my life.
Some years ago, I began talking publicly about our family story. I was somewhat surprised when people would come up to me afterward and say they related to my journey. And it wasn’t just people who had a sick or disabled child. It seems that, for all of us, at some point, something unexpected, unwanted comes into our lives. And we all need to find a way to live with it. We did not expect our marriage to crumble, we did not expect to lose a loved one in an accident, we did not expect to lose our job, we did not expect to lose our hearing, the list goes on. I call these the “broken pieces” of our lives. My hope is that the strategies and coping skills I have learned and continue to learn can help others carry the broken pieces of their lives, with confidence, understanding and sometimes even joy.”