John Martin Sherwood

April 15, 1936April 18, 2012

Dr. John M. Sherwood, 76, of Oxnard, died Wednesday, April 18, 2012, following a long illness. Dr. Sherwood was born April 15, 1936, in New York City. Dr. John M. Sherwood, B.A., B. H. L., M. A. H. L., D.D., was Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emet of Woodland Hills, California, where he served as Senior Rabbi for twenty-two years. Early in his career, he was the first reform rabbi in western Canada, and taught in the religious studies department of the University of British Columbia. For six years he was an adjunct professor of pastoral studies at St. John’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Camarillo, California. A graduate of the Los Angeles Police Academy advanced chaplaincy course, he was a chaplain and crisis intervention counselor for the Department from 1982 to 1997. His colleagues elected him coordinator of the chaplain corps in 1995. He was a past president of the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council, and the author of a High Holy Day prayer book and a number of creative Haggadahs. He has written many articles on liturgy and the relationship of Jewish and Christian ceremonial observances. One of his favorite community projects was working with the priest- rabbi dialogue committee that was jointly sponsored by the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and the Archdiocese of Southern California. Upon his retirement from the pulpit, he qualified as a personal fitness trainer in order to develop a motivational program bringing mind, body and spirit together. His interest in computers has led him to pursuing intellectual interests all over the world through the Internet. He was a frequent respondent to the Union for Reform Judaism’s “Ask the Rabbi” web site, and that of, and a regular contributor to the Liberal Jewish Newsletter. When not following his academic pursuits, he enjoys travel with his wife, Dolores. These journeys, coupled with his passion for scenic photography, have led to the creation of his slide lecture series entitled “Judaism Around the World, from Budapest to Bangkok and Back.” His biography appears in the Marquis Who’s Who in Religion in America, as well as several other similar publications. Since moving to Oxnard, he has become a chaplain for the Ventura County Fire and Rescue Department, was a member and chairperson of both the Oxnard Clergy Association and the Ventura Interfaith Ministerial Association. He led the two organizations to joint sponsorship of a new program for the west county in interfaith education. He and his wife, Dolores served for three years as chair and vice-chair of the Oxnard City Sea Air Community Council, now as members at-large. He has been active in environmental causes, specifically the Save our Open space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) movement. He was also a professor for Elderhostel. He has served on the executive committee of a study group created by the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor John Flynn. The group was known as “Society Ecology Economy Ventura County Vision”. The Board of Supervisors also appointed him to the newly created County Election Finance Ethics Commission, of which his colleagues elected him vice chair, in which position he served for two years. He serves on the Institutional Review Board of St. John’s Regional Medical Center. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Oxnard Police-Clergy Council. He was a member of the Oxnard Community Relations Commission. He was a recipient of the California Central Coast Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Community Service Award. Rabbi Sherwood is survived by his wife Dolores, his children Jay, Robert, Bruce, June and Wendy and eight grandchildren. Services will be held Friday, April 20, 2012, 12:30 P.M., at Temple Beth Torah, 7620 Kimball Road, Ventura, with Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller officiating. Burial will follow at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, Ventura. Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Beth Torah. Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Road, Ventura. Condolences may be sent to Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home and Crematory, 3150 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura. Condolences may be left at


  • Funeral Service Friday, April 20, 2012

John Martin Sherwood

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Deanne Quarrie

December 18, 2012

I have just learned of his passing. I spent time in Ventura and worked with Rabbi John in his interfaith ministry. He was such a wonderful person who brought richness and wonderful humor to the work. My heart holds great fondness for the memories of the time I spent with him.

Karen Cilman

August 18, 2012

I will miss my friend Rabbi John Sherwood very much. He improved my self esteem immeasurably by his counsel. I am grateful to have known him. My condolences to his family.

May 3, 2012

I have written to Rabbi John on several occasions through the Liberal Judiasm Mailing LIst. Although we never met, he was always friendly and helpful. The world has lost a great Jewish scholar and the Liberal Jewish community has lost a great leader. Sherwin Rubin, Arlington, Texas

Arthur M Schlesinger

April 29, 2012

April 27, 2012
Very sorry to hear of John's passing. I knew him at the City College of New York where he & I were members of Alpha Phi Omega. He was a great brother. My condolences to his family.
Arthur M. Schlesinger '58
Somerville NJ

Tim, Cindy & boys Hansen

April 21, 2012

As my boys would say we just lost "the short guy who knew so much" and who made us think so deeply. Such a huge loss, too soon. Our hearts go out to all of you and thank you so much for sharing him with our family. Tim, Cindy, Franklin & Nathan Hansen (TBT)

Carmen Ramirez

April 21, 2012

Our whole comunity has sufered a great loss, my condolences to Rabbi John's widow, Elaine, his children, family and friends.

Lauren & Al Schwartz

April 20, 2012

Rabbi Sherwood was one of our heroes for his tireless efforts to make the world a better place. But for a scheduling conflict he would have officiated at our wedding. We miss Rabbi Sherwood, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Linda & Harvey Tapper

April 20, 2012

Our condolences to the Sherwood family. May his life be a blessed memory.

Linda & Harvey M. Tapper, Past Master 2006.
We were members of Temple Emet and Linda was Aldult Bat Mitzvah by him. Also, we know him through Marriage Encounter.

Dr. Richard A. Berg

April 20, 2012

I am so very sorry to hear of Rabbi Sherwood's passing. He organized the Marriage Encounter weekend to which my wife, Chris, and I went, and he was a huge comfort to me when my wife died. Later he officiated at my Dad's funeral also. I knew him from his first days at Temple Emet - he was always very caring and helpful in times of need. Even though I now live in Israel I shall always be sad knowing that he is gone. Rest in peace, Rabbi. My sincerest condolences to the entire family.
Rick Berg
Nili, Israel

Rhoda Scrivner

April 20, 2012

Rabbi Sherman Bar Mitzvahed both my sons at Temple Emet, , married me, performed at my husbands funeral and then remarried me again. He shareda lot with me and I will always be greatful for him. My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. Know he will be missed. Rhoda Scrivner, Reseda, CA