On Sunday, April 12th, 2020, Rudi E. Scheidt passed away in his Memphis home surrounded by his family. While it has been two months since Rudi’s death, no amount of time passed will allow us to forget Rudi’s legacy to Memphis, Reform Judaism, and Jacobs Camp.
Rudi’s service and philanthropy extended deep through the Memphis community in so many ways, chief among them was his commitment to Temple Israel, where he served as President from 1994 to 1996. Together with his wife, Honey, and the rest of the Scheidt family, Rudi was instrumental in moving Temple Israel to East Memphis in the 1970s. Additionally, Rudi advocated for programs for Jewish youth.
Rudi and Honey’s worked to establish the URJ Scheidt Seminar for Congregational Presidents and Presidents-Elect, whose purpose is to convene congregational presidents to learn, network, build relationships, and enhance leadership skills. To date Scheidt Seminar has become so wide-reaching, engaging over 1,700 congregational Presidents to help enhance congregations around the country.
As President of the UAHC Southwest Council, Rudi helped with the founding of Henry S. Jacobs Camp in 1970. During that time, a Jewish summer camp in Mississippi was such an unheard-of idea. However, thanks to Rudi’s partnership with CAST and other Deep South Jewish Leaders in our movement, the dream of Jacobs Camp became a reality. Later in the history of Jacobs Camp, Rudi reaffirmed his dedication to our community during a campaign to rebuild the buildings at camp. It’s fitting that Rudi chose to sponsor the renovation of the Dining Hall, as it is the one building on camp where the whole community gathers to celebrate in the joy of community, one kehillah kedoshah.
Certainly Rudi Scheidt’s leadership and influence will be felt for years to come in the Reform Jewish Community, and Jacobs Camp is so grateful for Rudi, Honey, and the whole Scheidt family’s support from 1970 until today.