Himmelfarb, Milton 1918–2006

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Himmelfarb, Milton 1918–2006

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 21, 1918, in New York, NY; died of complications from skin cancer, January 4, 2006, in New York, NY. Editor, researcher, educator, and author. Himmelfarb was best remembered as a commentator on Jewish issues, especially as an essayist for Commentary magazine. A graduate of the City College (now of the City University of New York), he completed his master's degree there in 1939. That same year, he also received a degree in Hebrew literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a diploma from the University of Paris. After taking post-graduate courses at Columbia University through 1947, his first important job was with the American Jewish Committee in New York City, where he became director of information and research in 1955. Himmelfarb would remain associated with the committee for the next thirty years, becoming the editor of The American Jewish Yearbookin 1959 and a contributing editor to Commentary. His essays for the latter made him famous for his wry observations about the Jewish people. A conservative writer, he expressed his opposition to historians who held that the Holocaust was a result of historical trends and not just Adolf Hitler's doing; Himmelfarb, to the contrary, asserted that blame for the Holocaust could be laid entirely at Hitler's feet. He also warned that birth control and intermarriage practices were diluting the purity of the Jewish race. Himmelfarb, who also occasionally taught as a visiting professor at such institutions as the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, retired from the committee and as contributing editor to Commentary in 1986. His publications include The Jews in Modernity (1973) and the coedited Zero Population Growth—for Whom? Differential Fertility and Minority Group Survival (1978).



Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2006, p. B10.

New York Times, January 15, 2006, p. A23.