Longtime seasonal resident and lover of the Vineyard Rabbi Harold White died surrounded by family in Connecticut on August 31, the end of summer, after a short illness. He was 83.

When on Island, Rabbi White was a lover of art, music, and beaches and was a consummate host to the many guests who visited his West Tisbury home. He was an enthusiastic singer at the Wednesday night Community Sings at the Tabernacle and haunted art galleries at every corner of the Island. He grew a beautiful lily garden and created an enchanted cottage with purple trim and beautiful fish ponds. He attended social events far and wide, from the Georgetown University summer gathering to the Run to the Rock picnic. He also loved many Island restaurants and brought guests to meals from the Cliffs to Oak Bluffs. Rabbi White was an enthusiastic fair-goer, and often rode the Ferris wheel at the MV Agricultural Fair.

When off Island, Rabbi White broke ground as the first rabbi hired as a chaplain by a Catholic college; he started working as a chaplain at Georgetown University in 1968. He served the university for the rest of his life as teacher, scholar, and fundraiser, and founded the Program for Jewish Civilization in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also felt strongly that families could have more than one religious loyalty and identity, and to that end created a ritual for performing interfaith weddings as a team with a priest or minister. He performed the wedding of Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen in 1995 in Chilmark. In his later years he served as rabbi to the Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington and as chaplain at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in Washington, DC.

Rabbi White lived the spirit of a true Islander, offering an open heart and generosity to many, many people. The stories told after his death show how many people’s lives were changed by his making connections or offering a place to stay and a listening ear at a crucial moment. He will be missed by his many nieces and nephews and his vast unofficial family both on and off the Island. He is survived by his adopted son Ross.

Gifts in memory of Rabbi White may be sent to Georgetown University’s Program for Jewish Civilization, 305 S ICC, 37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20057; Interfaith Families Project, 12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852; and Moment Magazine, Rabbi Harold S. White Fellowship, 4115 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite LL10, Washington, D.C., 20016.