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Max Cohen Currick

CURRICK, MAX COHEN (1877–1947), U.S. Reform rabbi. Currick was born in Boston and ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1898. After serving as rabbi of United Hebrew Congregation of Fort Smith, Arkansas, he became rabbi of Congregation Anshe Hesed in Erie, Pennsylvania, a position he held from 1901 until his death in 1947. A journalist as well, Currick was editor of the Erie Dispatch (1910–12) and chairman of the board of editors of Liberal Judaism, the house organ of the *Union of American Hebrew Congregations. In 1927, he became chairman of the *Central Conference of American Rabbis Committee on International Peace and was active in assisting victims of Nazism. Currick rose to many leadership roles in the CCAR and co-sponsored a tough (although not adopted by the rabbinic organization) resolution vehemently condemning "immorality" in Hollywood films. He was elected vice president of the CCAR in 1935 and served as president of the organization during the time of Hitler's rise to international power (1937–39), calling for greater cooperation among American Jewry to meet rising antisemitism at home and abroad. Contrary to the views of some other American Jewish leaders, however, Currick was of the opinion that no new umbrella organization needed to be formed to confront this challenge; rather, he felt, the *Synagogue Council of America, with its bedrock foundation in the houses of worship of the three streams of Judaism, should be given a broader mandate to speak out and act on issues facing American Jewry. In addition to his CCAR roles, Currick served on the Boards of Governors of Hebrew Union College and of the B'nai B'rith Home for Children.


K.M. Olitzky, L.J. Sussman, and M.H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1993).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.