LAZARON, MORRIS SAMUEL (1888–1979), U.S. Reform rabbi. Lazaron, who was born in Savannah, Georgia, was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1914. He served as rabbi in Wheeling, West Virginia, for a year and in 1915 was appointed rabbi of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the large and distinguished Reform synagogue in Baltimore where he served for 31 years as rabbi and rabbi emeritus. During World War I, he wrote Side Arms (Readings and Meditations for Soldiers and Sailors, 1918). As rabbi he initiated youth-oriented programming, introduced innovative rituals, and was an early supporter of the interfaith movement, working with the National Conference of Catholics and Jews and traveling throughout the United States with a priest and a minister to represent the three faiths of America. Lazaron's retirement from this office in 1949 was linked to his active identification with the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism, of which he was a founder and vice president. This position was not problematic with his congregation until after the Holocaust, and especially after the establishment of the State of Israel. This led to the severing of his relationship with Baltimore Hebrew, including his resignation as rabbi emeritus. He was also a member of the National Council of the American Friends of the Middle East. He wrote several works, including Ask the Rabbi (1928);The Consolidation of Our Father (1928); Homeland or State: The Real Issue (1940); In the Shadow of Catastrophe (1956); Is Thisthe Way? (1942); and Olive Trees in a Storm (1955).
S. Shpeen, "A Man Against the Wind: A Biographical Study of Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron" (Rabbinical Thesis, HUC-JIR, 1984); K.M. Olitzsky, L.J. Sussman, and M.H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Source-book (1993).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.