Allen Howard Podet

Posted in 50th Year Members | Comments Off on Allen Howard Podet

Allen Howard Podet

(A few explanatory notes have been added by a friend.)


Ordained in 1962 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati.  Concurrent award of MAHL with honors.  I served 2 years 1962 – 1964, with Rabbi Dr. Selwyn Ruslander, at Temple Israel of Dayton, Ohio, and as Chaplain for the Dayton State and Receiving Hospital, a custodial psychiatric institution.  (He had to get a note from the Director to leave.)  Received DHL in Jewish law and history.


In 1964 I became the founding Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Belleview, Washington, and several years later when we merged with Temple De Hirsch of Seattle, (He means when the shul went broke and De Hirsch picked up the debt.) I went full-time to the University of Washington in Seattle, where with Dr. John Clear, I established the Hebrew program.  (A narrow escape from personal bankruptcy.)  My studies while at Seattle led to publication of a book on the background to the establishment of the State of Israel.  Received PhD in history.


At this time, inspired by Ruslander’s example and that of my brother, Rabbi Dr. Mordecai Podet of Waco, I joined the US Navy as a Chaplain in the Reserve.  I have since served in London, Naples, New York, San Diego, high and low throughout the US, on battleships, tenders, cruisers, a submarine, aircraft carriers (notably the Vinson, the Enterprise, the Roosevelt).  I have been a base chaplain, a brig chaplain, a hospital chaplain, an instructor at Chaplain’s School, and a staff member of the Chaplain Resource Board.  (The man can’t keep a job.)  I served with the Marines, the Seabees, and the Coast Guard.  I loved every minute of it!


From the University of Washington I went to Buffalo State College, part (albeit a minor one) of the State University of New York system.  There I established the program in Religious Studies, which is now a minor under the Philosophy Department.  (It may be dissolved when he retires.)


My studies led to involvement in modern European Jewish life, and I gave over time some 26 lecture tours in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and elsewhere in German-speaking communities, mostly funded by the German Federal Government through the national Christlich-Juedisch Zusammenarbeit organizations.  (His German gave rise to much hilarity and gave his audiences an opportunity to demonstrate surpassing patience and facial self control.  Many mitzvah points for them.)


I received a Fulbright for a year in Jerusalem to study manuscripts of Leon Modena, a Renaissance Jewish