WARSCHAWSKI, MAX


WARSCHAWSKI, MAX (1925– ), rabbi and scholar, chief rabbi of Bas-Rhin (Alsace, France), Warschawski was born in Bischeim, a suburb of Strasbourg, to an Alsatian family whose roots go back to Eastern Europe. He was a student of Chief Rabbi Abraham Deutsch, and during World War II studied in the Jewish Seminary of Limoges, to where the Alsatian Jewish community was evacuated in 1939. After the liberation, he completed his studies in Paris and London and became rabbi of his hometown Bischeim. He was in charge of religious teaching in Strasbourg. He was appointed rabbi of Strasbourg in 1954; then he became deputy chief rabbi in 1961 and chief rabbi in 1970. He was active and successful in developing Jewish education both in Jewish schools and in state schools. He was also active in welcoming in Alsace Jews from North Africa, mostly from Algeria, who massively emigrated in 1962. His aim was to avoid what had happened in the inter-war period, when Alsatian Jews had refused to welcome Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and from Germany. The old Jewish community of Strasbourg became more diverse in the 1960s, and Warschawski struggled to maintain its unity. Under his guidance, Jewish life flourished in Strasbourg: many students engaged in Jewish learning and were of a strong Zionist bent; new synagogues were built in the city and its suburbs. Warschawski, together with his wife, Mireille (born Metzger), tried to be a rabbi for both secular and Orthodox Jews. He maintained strong ties with the Jewish scouts (Éclaireurs Israélites de France). Warschawski also worked as a historian of the Jews of Alsace, studying the traditions of this ancient, deeply rooted community, saving the artifacts he could find (delivering them to Strasbourg museums), and writing numerous articles in the Jewish press on these old rural communities. With his wife, he wrote a textbook for young Jewish students about the Bible, Ma Bible illustrée (1957). With his wife, he immigrated to Jerusalem in 1988.

[Jean-Marc Dreyfus (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.