Rabbi Shaul Osadchey is proud to call Calgary home as he enters his fourth year of service to Beth Tzedec and the Calgary Jewish community. Throughout his 35 years in the rabbinate, Rabbi Osadchey has envisioned his role as invigorating Jewish life with joy and celebration, passion and enthusiasm in the hope of making Jewish tradition an integral part of modern living. His willingness to tackle the challenges of the day using innovative thinking and a collaborative leadership style has led to transformative experiences in synagogues, communal organizations and in personal lives.
As part of his goal to re-energized the Beth Tzedec with new ideas and programs, Rabbi Osadchey has initiated such celebrations as Pizza in the Hut, “A Taste of Judaism” Cooking Class, a Sunday Brunch Series on the hottest issues confronting Conservative Judaism, and a Shavuot observance featuring a study session led by the Keruv (Conversion) Class topped off with a Cheesecake Party. In 2012, Rabbi Osadchey worked with the University of Calgary School of Environmental Design to create the “Soupkah,” a creative sukkah built with canned food to be donated to the hungry. Rabbi Osadchey also inspired the commissioning of a beautifully illuminated Sefer Haftarah scroll that has brought the ancient words of the Prophets to life. In addition to these congregation programs, Rabbi Osadchey has brought a warm and personal touch to lifecycle events with specially designed ceremonial booklets for baby namings, brit milah, mezuzah affixings, and weddings. In the interfaith community, Rabbi Osadchey currently serves as the Vice-President of the Calgary Council of Christians and Jews.
A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Shaul Osadchey served the Jewish community of Houston for 30 years as Director of the Houston B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation and Rabbi of Congregations Brith Shalom and Congregation Or Ami prior to coming to Calgary. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Language at Hebrew Union College, Rabbinic Ordination from Hebrew Union College, and a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causis, from Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Highlights of Rabbi Osadchey’s professional achievements include innovative educational programs that embraced a family and intergenerational philosophy, the creation of a program about Jews in space that led to congregant and astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman taking the first Torah scroll into space in 1996, instituting the first Jewish AIDS Care Team in Houston in 1986, becoming the first Jewish president of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, officiating at the first same-sex Jewish wedding in Houston in 2000, and taking an active role in interfaith work that focused on relations with the Christian and Moslem communities. Rabbi Osadchey has served as a frequent lecturer for organizations including the Melton Adult Institute, churches and other religious institutions, as well as the University of Houston and Rice University.
Politically active within the Jewish and civic communities, Rabbi Osadchey was a leader in the struggle for Soviet Jewry and led two missions to the Soviet Union to visit refuseniks in 1971 and 1983. He established Houston Action for Soviet Jewry and actively led resettlement efforts. Rabbi Osadchey’s other Jewish communal activities over the years have included leadership roles as the President of the Kallah of Texas Rabbis, President of the Houston Rabbinical Association; and board member of the Jewish National Fund and Holocaust Museum Houston..
Rabbi Osadchey’s passion of social action is evident in his commitment to the community at large where he served as a board member of the Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition and the American Leadership Forum; founding member, Katy-West Houston Interfaith Clergy Association; advisory board member, Union Community Fund; co-chair, program committee, National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations; president, Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston; Campaign chairman, United Way Campaign for the Homeless; Senior Fellow, American Leadership Forum member, National Interreligious Task Force on Black-Jewish Relations and Houston AIDS Interfaith Council.
Rabbi Osadchey and his wife, Bobbie, married in 2000. They have six children and six grandchildren.