Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner and Rabbi KarffMayor Turner Mourns the Death of An Iconic and Inspirational Faith Leader

August 15, 2020 -- Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Sylvester Turner following the death of Houston Rabbi Samuel Karff.

'Rabbi Samuel Karff devoted decades to sharing his faith and wisdom with the Greater Houston community. As the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel, he lived by example. He worked for social justice and was an inspirational leader who taught us about tolerance, peace, and understanding.

"As part of the "Three Amigos," along with Pastor William A. Lawson and Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, Rabbi Karff helped break down walls and build relationships among people of different faiths and backgrounds. The Three Amigos - a pastor, rabbi, and archbishop - had an impactful friendship that epitomized love and harmony.Their friendship inspired all of us. Now, one of the Amigos is gone, leaving a void in our city.

Mayor Turner, Rabbi Karff, Pastor Lawson, and Archbishop Fiorenza

April 2019 photo at the Interfaith Ministries "Plaza of Respect" opening

"Rabbi Karff never hesitated to answer the call to serve our city. He graciously showed up whenever we needed him to offer a prayer or to calm any threats of unrest, and more recently, offer words of hope and solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic.

"On a personal note, I will miss Rabbi Karff and his wise counsel. I will always fondly remember our insightful conversations and the many events we attended to support organizations throughout the City of Houston."