Amram, David Werner

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AMRAM, DAVID WERNER (1866–1939), U.S. jurist, community leader, scholar; son of Werner David Amram, Philadelphia businessman and owner of the first maẓẓah bakery in Philadelphia. Amram practiced law from 1889 to 1903 when he was appointed a bankruptcy referee to the U.S. District Court. In 1908 he became lecturer in law and from 1912 to 1925 he was professor of jurisprudence at the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. Active in community affairs, he was on the Board of Governors of *Gratz College and the publication committee of the *Jewish Publication Society. He was chairman of the Philadelphia Zionist Council and editor of its official publication, the Maccabean. Amram first began to study Talmud when already an adult, under Marcus *Jastrow, and was deeply influenced by him in his attitude toward Jewish life and thought.

Amram wrote articles on Jewish law in the Bible and Talmud for the Anglo-Jewish press as well as for the Jewish Encyclopedia. Among his books on Jewish law are Jewish Law of Divorce According to the Bible and Talmud (1896, repr. 1968) and Leading Cases in Biblical Law (1905). Amram also published genizah legal documents (in The Green Bag, an Entertaining Magazine of Law, vol. 13, 1901), books on law and legal practice in Pennsylvania, and studies in Mexican and Peruvian textile designs and on Aztec pottery. His special interest in Hebrew books and printing led him to write Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909, repr. 1963), which contains important descriptions of Hebrew printing in Italy from the 15th–17th centuries and remains the best introduction in the English language to the subject.


ajyb, index to vols. 1–50 (1967), s.v.

[Abraham Meir Habermann]