Chiel, Arthur Abraham

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CHIEL, ARTHUR ABRAHAM (1920–1983), U.S. Conservative rabbi and author. Chiel was born in Taylor, Pennsylvania, received an Orthodox education at Yeshiva University and his Reform ordination at the Jewish Institute of Religion (1946). In 1944, while still a student, he became religious director of New York's 92nd Street ymha, a position he retained until 1949, the year he joined the Conservative movement and the Rabbinical Assembly. That same year, he traveled to western Canada, where he would have a major impact on the Jewish community of the province of Manitoba, serving as director of the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Manitoba, organizing the university's Department of Judaic Studies (where he also taught as an assistant professor), and becoming founding rabbi of Winnipeg's Congregation Rosh Pina. Chiel later published Jewish Experiences in Early Manitoba (1955) and The Jews in Manitoba (1961).

In 1957, Chiel returned to New York, where he became program editor of the Jewish Theological Seminary's Eternal Light television program and earned his Doctor of Hebrew Letters (1962). In 1962, he became rabbi of Congregation B'nai Jacob in Woodbridge, Connecticut, a position he held until his death. He helped found New Haven's Ezra Academy and was president of the Connecticut Valley Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, an organization whose bet din he served as secretary, and for which he wrote the introduction and commentary to Megillat Hanukkah (1980). Chiel's other scholarly writings include Guide to Sidrot and Haftarot (1971) and Pathways Through the Torah (1975). He edited both the magazine Conservative Judaism (1979–80) and Perspectives on Jews and Judaism: Essays in Honor of Wolfe Kelman (1978).


P.S. Nadell, Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1988).

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]