Abbell, Maxwell

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ABBELL, MAXWELL (1902–1957), U.S. communal worker, lawyer, businessman, and philanthropist. Abbell, who was born in Slonim, Poland, was taken to the U.S. at the age of three by his parents, who settled in Chelsea, Mass. Moving to Chicago, Abbell worked first for the Jewish Social Service Bureau, then as assistant executive director of the Jewish Charities of Chicago (1925–37). In 1937 he established his own accounting firm, and in 1944 he became senior partner of the law firm of Abbell and Schanfeld. He entered the real estate business as well, eventually establishing Abbell Hotels, a large nationwide chain, which he continued to manage until his death. Highly active in local and national Jewish life, Abbell was chairman of the Chicago College of Jewish Studies (1950–54), president of the United Synagogue of America (1950–53), and a founder of the World Council of Synagogues in 1957. His philanthropical activities were devoted mainly to the State of Israel and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In 1955 President Eisenhower appointed him chairman of the President's Committee on Government Employment Policy.

[Bernard Segal]