Brill, Isaac Lipa

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BRILL, ISAAC LIPA (1874–1936), U.S. rabbi and journalist. Brill was born in Mainz, Germany, the son of Jehiel *Brill, noted scholar and journalist who published the first Hebrew-language newspaper in Palestine. Isaac Lipa attended Marcus Lehmann's Religionshule until he was 10 and then moved with his family to London, England, where he attended the Yiddish Folkshule. With both his parents fervent Zionists, he enrolled in the youth group, Pirchei Zion, and became an avid Zionist for life.

Brill studied at London's Jews' College and in 1896 continued his secular studies at Berlin University and his Jewish studies at Rabbi Azriel *Hildesheimer's rabbinical seminary. At the same time, he was a journalist for Die Deutsche Zeitung. After he married in 1898, he returned to England to work for two Jewish newspapers in Leeds: the Jewish Express and the Jewish Recorder. He freelanced for the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish World, both in London.

When in his mid-thirties, Brill and his wife decided to immigrate to United States, arriving in 1909. He became the editor of a fledgling newspaper, the Hebrew Standard, which later merged with the Jewish Tribune. At the same time, he was the editor of the English section of Yiddishe Tageblatt. He wrote hundreds of articles, several plays, and short stories. At the same time, Brill, the avid Zionist, joined and served on the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America. He was also the executive secretary and "outspoken advocate" for the *Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and for Orthodox Jewish values.

He received his ordination from Rabbi Moses S. Margolies and became a pulpit rabbi at Congregation Shaarei Tzedek and later at Agudath Achim in the Bronx, New York. In the 1920s, he served as the spiritual leader of the Jewish Center in University Heights, and devoted a great deal of his philanthropic zeal to a number of Jewish organizations: hias, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, Young Judaea, and the ymha.


M. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook, (1996), 37–39; B.Z. Eizenstadt, Chachmei Yisrael B'America (1903), 23–24; American Jewish Yearbook (1904– ), 70; Who's Who in American Jewry (1926), 8.

[Jeanette Friedman (2nd ed.)]