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Louis Israel Newman

NEWMAN, LOUIS ISRAEL (1893–1972), U.S. Reform rabbi and author. Newman was born in Providence, R.I., and received his B.A. from Brown University in 1913 and a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1924. He became an assistant to Rabbi Stephen *Wise at the Free Synagogue in 1917 and was ordained by Wise and Martin *Meyer in 1918, whereupon he assumed the pulpit of the Bronx Free Synagogue (1918–21). In 1921, he became rabbi of Temple Israel in New York City and was appointed to the faculty of the Jewish Institute of Religion (JIR) when it was founded the following year. He also served as president of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association. In 1924, Newman succeeded Meyer at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, returning in 1930 to New York City to become rabbi of Temple Rodeph Sholom, where he was to remain until his retirement. He rejoined the JIR faculty and became active in the Zionist Revisionist movement, championing Zionism as primarily a political movement and the necessity of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. He was the chairman of the Palestine Mandate Defense Fund and honorary chairman of both the Revisionist Tel Hai Fund and the American Friends of a Jewish Palestine. He also served on the American advisory committee for the *Hebrew University and as a vice president of the *American Jewish Congress.

His books include Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements (1924) and Jewish People, Faith and Life (1957). He also compiled and translated the classic work The Hasidic Anthology, Tales and Teachings of the Hasidim: The parables, folk-tales, fables, aphorisms, epigrams, sayings, anecdotes, proverbs, and exegetical interpretations of the Hasidic masters and disciples; their lore and wisdom (1934, 1968, 1972), which has become a standard textbook for courses in Jewish studies.


The Louis I. Newman Papers and the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati.

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