Funeral Details

Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, PhD

May 1, 1945 - February 3, 2022


Date and Time

Monday, February 7, 2022 at 1:00 PM


Chicago Jewish Funerals
Skokie Chapel
8851 Skokie Boulevard
Skokie, Illinois 60077
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Rabbi Shari Chen


Memorial Park Cemetery
9900 Gross Point Road
Skokie, Illinois 60076
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Memorial Contributions

Rabbi Goldhamer Memorial Fund
1235 Oak Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60202


Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer PhD, 76, passed to the next level of existence on February 3, 2022. Loving and devoted husband of Peggy Bagley for 41 years. Dear brother of Dr. Paul Goldhamer (Dr. Michele Farine).

Brother-in-law of Sharon Hammel, Bill Bagley, the late Bobbie (David) Merzazada, and the late Jim Bagley

Loving son of the late Harry and the late Jean Goldhamer. Proud uncle of Ilana Goldhamer, Adam (Laura) Goldhopf, Hassan (Sahar) Merzazada, Asha (Nick) Ioanou, and Jessica (Rob) Kondratenko. Great uncle of Ori and River Rose Goldhopf, Ellie and Athan Ioanou, and Salma Merzazada. He loved his dog Charlie, and all the dogs that came before him in this life. When he walked down the street, Rabbi Douglas always carried money in his pocket in case he met a poor person, and a few dog treats and a can of cat food in case he met a hungry stray animal.

Following his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Rabbi Goldhamer, together with Chicago deaf leaders, established Congregation Bene Shalom/Hebrew Association of the Deaf in 1972. For the past 50 years, he was Senior Rabbi, serving the Deaf and hearing Jewish communities. In 1992, Rabbi Goldhamer founded Hebrew Seminary, where he served as President and Professor of Jewish Mysticism. He lectured on philosophy, Jewish mysticism and prayer throughout the United States.

Rabbi Goldhamer received his Bachelor of Hebrew Law, Master of Hebrew Letters and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Sir George Williams University, Montreal. His Ph.D. was in Medieval Philosophy from University of Chicago. He was born in Montreal, Canada in 1945, and was very proud to become a citizen of the United States in 2003.

Together with Melinda Stengel, a licensed social worker, Goldhamer wrote This is for Everyone: Universal Principles of Healing Prayer and the Jewish Mystics, published by Larson Publications, in 1999. He and his wife Peggy Bagley wrote Healing with God?s Love: Kabbalah?s Hidden Secrets in 2015. Rabbi Goldhamer wrote a Torah commentary for the Chicago Jewish News for many years.

Reflecting his ability to communicate in myriad ways, the Rabbi began painting 30 years ago, with a focus on Jewish mystical and Biblical themes. His magnificent artwork has been shown in galleries nationally.?

During 1972-76, Rabbi Goldhamer served as NBC newscaster on Chicago?s local Channel 5, during the local spot on The Today Show. In 2007, he was named one of the ?Ten Outstanding Jewish Leaders in Chicago,? by the Chicago Jewish News. This past summer, he was the subject of a YouTube video, ?Sign of the Times,? produced by Silver Screen Studios.

Service Monday 1PM at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd. (at Niles Center Road) Skokie. Interment Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Rabbi Goldhamer Memorial Fund, 1235 Oak Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202

To attend the funeral live stream, please visit our website. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal condolences and stories of Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, PhD below and we will share them with the family.
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I was sad to learn of your death, dear Douglas. We first met in Cincinnati in 1966 and I recall, so clearly, a visit to your home in Montreal, as you recovered from a back injury. I had the privilege, on that occasion, of meeting your dear parents. They were lovely, gentle people. You, Douglas, achieved a great deal in the time which was allotted to you, You were a person of many talents: a first-rate scholar, congregational rabbi, writer, artist, and champion, for 50 years, of those who were denied the gift of hearing. I know that Ha'Shem is going to meet you at the gates of PARDES, where I am certain that you will continue your studies.

Philip Kranz
February 4, 2022
Once in a blessed while, an Angel is brought to Earth. To mingle amidst mortals and spread their Light, love, and kindness as an emissary of God. Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer was such an Earth Angel. One of my most cherished blessings has been to call Douglas my dear friend, extraordinary mentor, and spiritual guide. Being in his sphere was illuminating and joyous....and humbling 🙂 I am honored and grateful to weave his teachings into my life and actions every day, a testament to his impact on so many he touched both near and far. The ripple effect in action.

While you will be profoundly missed here on Earth Douglas, I know you are just a breath and a heartbeat away. And while I still have the gift of life, I promise to honor you and your teachings to perpetuate your gorgeous legacy. You taught me that when we speak to the dead, particularly for me to speak with Josh, we enliven their Soul. I will be speaking with you and I look forward to receiving your messages as well, my heart being the gateway. With my infinite and eternal love and gratitude to you Douglas, Nancy

Nancy H. Rothsteiin
February 4, 2022
I am one of Angel Doug's kind and blessed friends. He told me I was very intelligent and that I can present a sermon. which I never thought that I was able to do. He loved to get together and talk and to prayer by with the Ark and the Torah. He prayed in Hebrew and I prayed in English but we both knew what we were saying. These past years were so beneficial because I could participate via zoom the services which I would not be able to attend otherwise. He made sure he gave me the books for Rosh hashanah and Yom Kipur. He also let me participate in a class on the Psalms for free. After that I audited a class on ASL I could pay for it myself. I was also able to give little amounts for the Synagogue. every now and then. What was really a treasure was that I was able to give him a book about the angels which accompanied four people in Hungary during World War II and the Holocaust. He told me he really enjoyed it. The last book he gave me was a prayer on "The Song of the Universe." "Perek Shirah" I will give an offering for the Rabbi Goldhamer Memorial Fun, but no amount of money could express my love of him in my life and the respect he was to so many who came to meet him. You have your wings Doug so fly about when you get a chance.

Sue Kilduski
February 6, 2022
Tragic loss of a remarkable man. Rabbi Goldhamer's shining spirit truly lit up every place he entered and every soul fortunate enough to come in contact with him. May we all continue to share the kindness, empathy and caring for one another as demonstrated by his example.

Jodie Tauf
February 6, 2022
Fond Memory Poem

We can't know why
the lily has so brief
a time to bloom
in the warmth
of sunlight's kiss
upon its face,

Before it folds its fragrance in
and bids the world good-night
to rest its beauty in a gentler place.

But we can know that nothing
that is loved is ever lost, no
and no one who has ever
touched a heart

Can really pass away,
because some beauty lingers on
in each memory of which
they've been a part.

Steven Sondheim
February 6, 2022
Dearest Douglas: the greater your life long pain the more resolute were you to teach,preach,to counsel, to nurture.Your own pursuit of the Kabalah allowed you to bring others toembrace the healing arts. Moreover your masterful artistry has opened wide the windows of the soul.This and more your scholarly pursuits elevated visions of what Judaism is in the congregation and wider community.You opened the portals of prayer in its myriad expressions.I see your hands dancing before me with messages to and from the Holy One.Your memory is a blessing

Paul Feinberg
February 7, 2022
We will never forget Douglas? kindness, love and enthusiasm for life, healing and God. His spirit and teachings will live with us forever. Let us all sing and clap a little louder now to be sure he knows we are still following his lead.

Sheryl Bloom
February 7, 2022
I was able to watch the service through zoom as I was unable to be there in person. What an incredibly beautiful tribute to such an amazing soul. Douglas was the best of men in all circumstances who achieved greatness in both his personal and professional life. Douglas made a soulful impact on my life at various times over the past 30 years. He was blessed by all those who knew him and he blessed everyone he knew. My most heartfelt condolences to Peggy and the temple.

He honored my entire family with his heart. We all are truly lucky to have known him.

Gale Paradise

gale paradise
February 7, 2022