(Rabbi Harold Shulweiss; Valley Beth Shalom)

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, leader of the Valley Beth Shalom synagogue in Encino, CA, died Thursday at age 89.

Schulweis, who was a national leader in the Conservative movement, helmed the Encino congregation since 1970, during which time he instituted a series of synagogue innovations, including, in 1971, synagogue-based Havurot discussion groups. He also founded several Jewish organizations, including Mazon and Jewish World Watch.

Here’s Schulweis giving a sermon at Valley Beth Shalom before Passover, in which he urges congregants to embrace the silent moments of the seder, the “benediction-less rites, those rituals in which there is no blessing, only silence.”

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis sermon, given March 30, 2013 from Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue on Vimeo.