Berman, Morton Mayer

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BERMAN, MORTON MAYER (1899–1986), U.S. Reform rabbi and organization executive. Berman was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a graduate of Yale (1921) and was ordained by the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1926, where he was deeply influenced by its president, Stephen S. *Wise. He attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the school's first Guggenheimer Fellow in 1926 and then studied in Berlin in 1927; he served as rabbi in Davenport, Iowa (1927–29), the Free Synagogue in New York City (1929–37), where he was an assistant to Wise and director of education, and Temple Isaiah Israel in Chicago (later kam Isaiah Israel; 1937–57), a synagogue that had fallen upon hard times during the Depression, its membership depleted to 150 dues-paying members from 1,000 and which he brought back to its former prominence. During World War ii Rabbi Berman was a chaplain in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy, where he won a Bronze Star for service on Okinawa. Berman was a political activist serving communal, national, and Zionist causes. From 1939 to 1957 he played leading roles in such national organizations as the Jewish National Fund, the Zionist Organization of America, and the American Jewish Congress. He edited the Congress Courier, now the Congress Bi-Monthly. A life-long Zionist, he took his own teaching to heart and in 1957 he moved to Jerusalem, where he became director of the department of English-speaking countries for Keren Hayesod. Rabbi Berman wrote Jew'sView of the Crucifixion (1929), Role of the Rabbi (1941), and For Zion's Sake: A Personal and Family Chronicle (1979).

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]

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Berman, Morton Mayer

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