Rabbi Morris M. Hershman

Rabbi Hershman was also involved in the government arena. He is credited with gathering support for bonds to improve the Joliet schools, he was instrumental in forming the city manager form of government and served on numerous city and county government councils.

In addition to his spiritual duties, Rabbi Hershman was also very active in a variety of civic endeavors. Following is a list of organizations he served:
- President / Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- President / Joliet Rotary Club
- President / Will County Health Conference
- General Chairman / United Way
- Advisory Council / JJC Adult Education Program

Rabbi also served on the Board of Directors of the following:
- Joliet/Will County Chapter of the American Red Cross
- Public Health Council
- Boy Scouts of America

Both University of St. Francis and Lewis University conferred honorary degrees upon him, and he was invited to speak at several commencements.

He was selected as Citizen of the Year by UNICO National in 1965, and he was inducted into the Joliet/Will County Hall of Pride in 1988.

Rabbi Hershman was a friend to all and was respected for being a forthright, honest and direct leader who inspired everyone to do the best they could for the community.

He used to say, "A man should be proud of the community he lives in, and the community should be proud of him".

Rabbi Hershman passed away in 1998 at the age of 81.



For over 55 years, Rabbi Morris Hershman gave of himself selflessly and relentlessly to every cause and endeavor that enhanced the good name of Joliet and insured its progress for the future.

Rabbi Morris Hershman came to Joliet in 1943 on a "temporary assignment" as the spiritual leader of the Joliet Jewish Congregation. Under his leadership, the congregation's membership grew and finished major construction projects.

In 1955, in its successful bid for the title of All-America City, Rabbi Hershman was chosen unanimously to be Joliet's spokesman before the All-Americas cities' jury.

In 1960, he was granted a lifetime contract by his congregation to be their leader. But his religious influence and community involvement was not limited to the Jewish faith.

As a business leader, Rabbi Hershman was a member of the Silver Cross Board of Directors for 32 years and served as Chairman of the board for 18 years. He oversaw the growth of many health care services, including the construction of eight satellite medical centers, the development of the $20 million Arthur and Vera Smith Pavilion and the establishment of Centers of Excellence in neuromedicine, pediatrics, diabetes, and cancer. In 1994, Silver Cross commemorated his personal contributions by naming the hospital's office building in his name -- the Rabbi Morris M. Hershman Medical Arts Building.

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