Rabbi H.D. Uriel Smith
Saturday 23rd of March 1940 - Thursday 18th of June 2020
833 W. Main Street, LEXINGTON, KY
Clergy Sharon Cohen
Rabbi H.D. Uriel Smith, 80, passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Rabbi Smith was born in London, England on March 23, 1940 to the late Samuel and Judith (Kucera) Smith.
Rabbi Smith is survived by his wife, Hanna Blaustein Smith. The couple had been married for 56 years. Rabbi Smith was rabbi of Ohavay Zion Synagogue for several years in the 1980’s. He served as chaplain for the Federal Prison System in Lexington and in Ashland, KY. Rabbi Smith was a scholar throughout his adult life. Following his retirement from the Environmental Protection Department in Frankfort, KY, he remained active in the Jewish community as a teacher and as a resource for his fellow rabbis.
In addition to his wife, Rabbi Smith is survived by his brothers, Gordon (Judy) Smith and Rabbi A.Daniel (Chani) Smith of London, England, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Milward Funeral Directors are entrusted with Rabbi Smith’s arrangements. A graveside service will be held on Monday, June 22nd at 10:00 am at Lexington Cemetery.
To share a remembrance of Rabbi Smith or to offer condolences to his family, please visit milwardfuneral.com.
Rabbi Ziona Zelazosays
May you be comforted in knowing that others share in your grief. With deepest sympathy, Rabbi Ziona, chair of the Chesed Committee at NAJC.
Sally and Jack Cotlarsays
Jack and I enjoyed our time with Hanna and Rabbi Smith and remember them with fondness. Hanna we wish you strength and comfort for your loss. Sally and Jack Cotlar
I was in Rabbi Smith's Hebrew class. He was a wonderful teacher and warm and engaging. He always made time to talk to you even though he was so incredibly busy and he still had time to worry about you. He called me up once because he was worried about me when I sent him a message that I couldn't show up to Hebrew class. I wish I had talked to him more and gotten to know him better.
I don't normally remember sermons, but Rabbi Smith gave one when he was at Agudath Achim, Shreveport, that I have often shared with others... He did a riff on the expression "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." He said that actually the road to heaven is paved with good intentions because God knows that we have good intentions, but sometimes, we get distracted or for whatever reason, unable to follow through. After all, God knows that we are human.
Uri came to be a reliable presence in the Department of Philosophy here at UK. I grew very fond of him over the years. He would always stop by my office and we would sit and chat, at first about his theory of all things, but then later about Israel and peace and the state of the world. I will miss him very much. My best to his family in this sad time.
I encountered Rabbi Smith in a number of guises during the too-short time I knew him. As a student in a philosophy of science class with me, it was immediately clear that he was well-read and deeply thoughtful about the nature of the physical universe. I recall fondly a paper of his on the persistent problem of interpreting quantum mechanics, in which he went back to source material from Heisenberg to generate a complex metaphysical argument. I was not surprised to learn from colleagues that he was a longtime presence in the University of Kentucky Philosophy Department, where we often found him discussing philosophy with our faculty and graduate students over the years. The Rabbi also shared his talents with us in other capacities, as for instance when he bravely served on a panel designed by our undergraduates to discuss relations between science and religion. There he engaged in complex philosophical and theological discourse with other religious and secular leaders in the community, and I have to say he made me proud to be Jewish during that dialogue! While I typically worship at TAI, I went to OZS with some friends for Kol Nidre last year, and it brought a special comfort and kinship to see Rabbi Smith in the synagogue with me during that contemplative time. He was a force of nature, and he will be missed.