Longtime Rodeph Shalom Informal Historian Found Beaten to Death


Lee Stanley was found dead in his Center City home on Aug. 15. Police say he was beaten to death.

A longtime member of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, who served as his synagogue’s informal historian, was found beaten to death in his home on Aug. 15.

The body of Lee Stanley, 65, , was found on Aug. 15, according to local news reports. Homicide detectives are investigating.

Rabbi Jill Maderer of Rodeph Shalom told CBS Philly that Stanley’s father, Harry, was a “legendary cantor” at the historic congregation in Center City and that Stanley “had a great love for Judaism, for Jewish prayer, for Jewish history and Jewish music.”

Members of the congregation frequently looked after Stanley, visiting him when he was sick because he had few living family members, the rabbi said.

According to Philly.com, fellow congregants said Stanley “could pluck from his mind details most others had long forgotten — or never thought to preserve: the precise date the congregation changed the melody for a particular song or tinkered with the Hebrew phrasing of a prayer.”

Police said there were no obvious signs of a break-in or of anything taken, indicating the possibility that Stanley may have known or even admitted his killer or killers into the home. A $20,000 reward is being offered by the City of Philadelphia for information in the case.

He is being buried on Friday at Montefiore Cemetery and the congregation has slated a memorial services on Sept. 14.


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