HURWITZ, SHMARYA LEIB (1878–1938), U.S. rabbi, writer, and educator. Born in Kritchov, Mogilev province of Byelorussia, Hurwitz studied at yeshivot in Shumiatz and Mastislav. He became rabbi in Congregation Tipheret Israel in Yekaterinoslav, Ukraine. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 and served as rabbi of Congregation Adath Augostav before he established Rabbi Israel Salanter Congregation and Talmud Torah. He left the congregation after two decades to become principal of Tipheret HaGro Talmud Torah in Brownville, where he remained for the rest of his life.
He established a reputation as an educator and writer. He wrote Yiddish and Hebrew works for students and for scholars and edited prominent Jewish newspapers including the Yiddish-language Der Yiddisher Weg Weiser (1922–25) and the Hebrew Degel Israel (1925–28). He wrote textbooks for children as well as a monthly publication for ritual slaughterers. His writings include works on the laws and customs of Israel for the High Holidays, the history of kaddish, and the principles of Judaism.
He was also an activist and an ardent Zionist. He attended the first Zionist Congress in Basle and worked with Mizrachi. He also established the first association of American cantors and was active in the Agudat Harabbonim and the Union of American Orthodox congregations.
M.D. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.