Neiman, David 1921-2004

views updated

NEIMAN, David 1921-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born September 10, 1921, in Novgorod-Seversk, Russia; died of cancer February 22, 2004, in Los Angeles, CA. Rabbi, educator, and author. In addition to making news by becoming the first rabbi at a Catholic university when he joined Boston College in 1966, Neiman was a respected scholar of Jewish history who was also an archaeologist. Although born in Russia, his family immigrated to the United States in 1923 and he was raised in Brooklyn. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1940, earned a teacher's diploma from Herzliah Hebrew Academy in 1943, a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1950, and his Ph.D. from Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning in 1955. The next year, he began his academic career at New York City's New School for Social Research (now New School University), where he lectured on history and religion until 1963; while there, he also founded the Academy for Higher Jewish Learning, which is now called the Academy for Jewish Religion. A three-year stint at Brandeis University was followed by his joining Boston College in 1966. Interested in fostering peaceful interfaith relations between Catholics and Jews, Neiman's presence there was an inspiration to many. A historian of biblical history, he created the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at the university and led ten expeditions to Israel during his tenure. In addition to his teaching, Neiman also served as rabbi for Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, Massachusetts. Retiring from Boston College in 1991, he eventually moved to Los Angeles, where, in a continued spirit of interfaith cooperation, he arranged to combine Jewish and Christian congregations at the Wilshire Christian Church. He did not stop teaching, either, finding a position at the University of Judaism. Neiman was the author of The Book of Job (1972) and Man against God (1973); at the time of his death, he was writing a book about Jewish languages.



Chronicle of Higher Education, March 26, 2004, p. A42.

ONLINE, (March 12, 2004).