Rabbi Michael I. Charney

July 18, 1949 ~ December 20, 2018 (age 69)

Rabbi Michael Isaac Charney, 69, of Exton died Thursday, December 20, 2018.  Michael was born on July 18, 1949 in Canton Ohio, the son of Rabbi Lawrence (z"l) and Lillian Ulman (z"l) Charney.  He and his older sister, Brenda, grew up in Logan Square in the Chicago area and moved to suburban Morton Grove with his younger siblings, David and Davida, when his father became the founding rabbi of Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation.

Michael graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago in the early 1970s. He completed his rabbinical training at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati including spending his first year in Jerusalem.  While a student, he began serving a congregation in St. Petersburg, Florida, and then served as rabbi at three Conservative synagogues: in Clearwater, Florida, Bowie, Maryland, and finally, in 1985, at Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County, Pennsylvania. At that time, the congregation, which had been founded in 1904, was located in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. During the time Michael was the congregation’s spiritual leader, the congregation grew in size and built and moved to a new synagogue building in Uwchlan Township in 1995.  Michael was especially proud of being instrumental in the opening of the Beth Israel Preschool and Kindergarten in 1999. The congregation celebrated Michael's 25th year as rabbi in 2010.

Michael’s greatest passion was helping others and especially the children and students of his congregation.  He inspired, encouraged, taught and helped so many throughout his life and his pride for his congregation was evident in all that he did.

In addition, Michael served as a chaplain for many years at the Norristown State Hospital and recently taught Hebrew classes at Arcadia University.

Michael is survived by his sons, Adam Charney (Melissa) and Brett Charney; grandchildren, Jake Charney, William Charney and Sophia Charney; siblings, Brenda Rosen, David Charney (Shawna) and Davida Charney; nieces and nephews; and former wife, Jamie Krakow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Michael’s name to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, USY Scholarship Fund c/o USCJ or Mazon. 

Funeral services will be held at Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County, 385 Pottstown Pike, Uwchland, PA on Sunday, December 23 at 12 noon with interment immediately following at Beth Israel Cemetery.

Donations may be made to:

Camp Ramah
3390 Ramah Cir., Conover WI 54519

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