Funeral Details


Funeral Details

Rabbi Peter S. Knobel

January 13, 1943 - August 20, 2019


Date and Time

Monday, August 26, 2019 at 10:00 AM


Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
1224 West Dempster Street
Evanston, Illinois 60202


Rabbi Andrea London
Rabbi Amy Memis-Foler
Cantor Kyle Cotler
Rabbi Eleanor Smith
Rabbi Lisa Greene


Memorial Park Cemetery
9900 Gross Point Road
Skokie, Illinois 60076
Get Directions


Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
1224 West Dempster Street
Evanston, Illinois 60202
Get Directions

Monday from 3PM to 6PM and from 7PM to 9PM and Tuesday 6PM to 9PM
Minyan both evenings at 7:30PM

Send Shiva

Memorial Contributions

Beth Emet The Free Synagogue
1224 Dempster Street
Evanston, Illinois 60202


Rabbi Peter S. Knobel was rabbi emeritus at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois where he had served since 1980, following 11 years at Temple Emanuel in Groton, Connecticut. He served as the Interim Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in West Hollywood, CA, Temple Sholom of Chicago and Temple Judea in Coral Gables. He also served as Interim Rabbi at North West Surrey Synagogue in Weybridge, England and Beth Shalom in Auckland, New Zealand. He served on the board of many local and national institutions including Association of Reform Zionists of America, Union for Reform Judaism, American Jewish Committee, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Council for the Parliament of the World Religions. He was a Past President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, the Chicago Association of Reform Rabbis as well as the Central Conference of American Rabbis [CCAR]. He co-chaired the CCAR Project, Lay Involvement in the Development of Liturgy, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment and the Nathan Cummings Foundation and he chaired the CCAR's Ad Hoc Siddur Editorial Committee which produced Mishkan T'filah, the Reform Movement's new prayer book. He was Director of the Resource Center for the Jewish Health Care Ethics and has participated as a member of the Illinois State Attorney's Task Force "Foregoing of Life-Sustaining Treatment" while putting special emphasis on health, healing, death, and dying. He was a member of the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies faculty and taught courses at HUC-JIR, Yale University and Connecticut College. His articles, books and thought pieces were published internationally. Rabbi Knobel spoke about nuclear proliferation at the United Nations. He received a BHL, MAHL, and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College, and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He was the son of the late Lothar and the late Lotta Knobel. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Elaine (nee Goodman) "Goodie" Knobel, his sons Seth Knobel and Jeremy Knobel and daughter-in-law Alyssa (nee Feinberg) Knobel. He is also survived by his six grandchildren; Leah, Alana, Heather, Stephen, Lily, and Oliver. He was brother-in-law to Judy and Tom Varga and Howard and Janet Goodman; nieces and nephews, Lauren Yanoff, Michele Yanoff, Scott Goodman and Dana Goodman. Service Monday 10am at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, 1224 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL 60202. Interment Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal
condolences and stories of Rabbi Peter S. Knobel below and
we will share them with the family.

Philip Kranz

Peter, we met 55 summers ago at Towanda, HUC, in Cincinnati. You and Abner Bergman, of blessed memory, were the first two students I met. You have remained a good friend and colleague all of these years. I always appreciated your intellect, your sincere humanity, and your talented leadership. I will miss you, dear friend. Rest In Peace.

Rabbi Andy Bossov

A true exemplar.

Dayna Zelniker

Rabbi Knobel was my Rabbi at Beth Emet. I was in his first confirmation class there and it was a memorable one. He taught us about mysticism among many other important Jewish teachings which a 15 year olds confirmation class should know. I eventually moved to Israel at the age of 27 and Rabbi Knobel sent a letter to the Israeli Misrad Hapnim (Dept. of Interior) to assist me in establishing my rights of citizenship with the state of Israel. He has been a great influence and teacher to me in my path with Judaism. Next he was the clergy and helped my family through the loss of my father Ronald Miller at also the young age of 76 years. I will always remember you Rabbi Knobel, you have been an inspiration to many Jewish families. May your memory be a blessing. With Love.

Carol Berry (Dushkin)

Dear Elaine, Seth, Jeremy and family,

May the love of family and friends bring you peace and comfort now and always.

Rabbi Knobel was indeed a great man. His profound impact on our faith and for all humanity will be endeared forever.

Personally he was loved and revered by our family. You know how special you all are to us and how your guidance and mentor ship paved the chosen path for Lisa. You will always be in our thoughts and our hearts. May your memory, Rabbi Peter Knobel, be for a blessing.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences. With Peace and Love.

Jodi Newmark

Elaine: We did not have the opportunity to sign the guest book, however, we were present to remember and honor Peter, who we admired and loved. The service was very moving and meaningful.
We first met Peter while shul shopping; Beth Emet was our 2nd stop. In contrast to our first meeting which though warm was superficial, our meeting with Peter was quite impersonal and serious; with his usual academic demeanor, Peter clearly defined for us Beth Emet's role in Reform Judaism, the community of Evanston and in congregant's lives. The contrast made for an interesting and, it turns out, easy decision. We were with you and Peter for sixteen of his thirty years at Beth Emet, and hold you each dear. Our daughter Becca was recently engaged, and as a resident of California, was happy to learn about his posting in LA, hoping that he might officiate at her wedding. Sharing news of Peter's passing with our now adult children was difficult, however, we are grateful that they too hold him dear, and grieve his loss.
I know this is not what you want, or what you saw coming. It is clear that your incredible family will come together to support and care for you, and you for them. What a legacy you and Peter created together!
And by the way, while Peter had a great sense of humor, he was not funny enough to write your eulogy.
Sending you love, Jodi and Gregg Newmark, Allie, Becca, Danny and Debbie
  • *Email and phone numbers will NOT be displayed online