Rabbi Micah Caplan, spiritual leader at Congregation Or Tzion for the last 10 years, died Sunday, June 14, in Scottsdale.
“It is with the utmost sadness that I must share with you that our beloved Rabbi Micah Caplan passed away this evening. Our hearts and prayers are with his entire family,” read an email statement sent by Congregation Or Tzion to its members.
Caplan grew up in Phoenix and served congregations in Florida and California before joining Congregation Or Chadash in 2010. In 2014 it merged with Har Zion Congregation to form Congregation Or Tzion. At the congregation’s gala celebration in February, Caplan was lauded by the community “as our rabbi, our teacher, our friend.”
Caplan’s “vision is to always create a place of learning, sharing and celebrating Jewish living together as a Kehillah Kedosha — a holy community. He is known for his warm, personal outreach and loves spending time having a coffee or a meal with anyone,” reads the congregation’s website.
Friends and admirers of Caplan posted on social media their thoughts on his passing.
“Micah was a dear dear friend. Just unbearable and unbelievable. Sending love and blessings for so much comfort,” Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz of Valley Beit Midrash posted on Facebook.
Rabbi Pinchas Allouche of Congregation Beth Tefillah posted a verse from Song of Songs: “My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens, and to pick roses.”
“This stirring verse kept playing in my mind, as I heard the devastating news this evening, on the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Micah Caplan,” Allouche wrote as an introduction to a longer tribute he published separately.
Carlos Galindo-Elvira, former director of Arizona’s Anti-Defamation League, also released a statement expressing his sorrow. “I’m saddened by the news of Rabbi Micah Caplan’s passing. In my previous role, Rabbi Caplan welcomed me and provided wise counsel. He was a kind and sincere man. His last advice to me in December was ‘keep fighting.’ All of my respect to his family as I hope his memory is an eternal blessing and source of comfort for them.” JN
This is a developing story.