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Elazar, Daniel J.


ELAZAR, DANIEL J. (1934–1999), political scientist. Elazar was born in Minneapolis and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He was appointed professor of political science at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he founded and directed the Center for the Study of Federalism. A leading authority on the subject, he was a founding president of the International Association for Federal Studies. Elazar divided his time between the U.S. and Israel, where he was professor of intergovernmental relations at Bar-Ilan University. And, as founder and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he headed the major independent Jewish think tank concerned with seeking solutions to the pivotal problems facing Israel and world Jewry.

In 1986 he was appointed by President Reagan to be a member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and was reappointed in 1991 by President Bush. He was secretary of the American Political Science Association and served as consultant to many federal, state, and local agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development, the National Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States, and the Pennsylvania Science and Technology Commission, as well as to the governments of Israel, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, South Africa, and Spain.

Elazar was recognized as an expert on Jewish community organization worldwide, on the Jewish political tradition, and on Israel's government and politics. He was a consultant to the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the City of Jerusalem, and to most major Jewish organizations in the U.S. and Canada, Europe, South Africa, and Australia. Taking a leadership role in numerous local and national Jewish organizations, he was chairman of the Israel Political Science Association, a member of various consultative bodies of the Israeli government, active in the World Sephardi Federation, president of the American Sephardi Federation, and served on the International Council of Yad Vashem.

Elazar wrote or edited more than 60 books and many other publications, including Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (1976), an in-depth study of the American Jewish community and its institutions; People and Polity, The Organizational Dynamics of World Jewry (1989), a study of the communities and institutions of World Jewry; Israel: Building a New Society (1986); A Double Bond: The Constitutional Documents of American Jewry (1992); Israel at the Polls, 1992 (1994); The Conservative Movement in Judaism: Dilemmas and Opportunities (with R.M. Geffen, 2000); and Israel at the Polls, 1999 (2001). Some of his books have sought a solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem based on federal principles. He was the founder and editor of Publius, the journal of Federalism, and the editor of the Jewish Political Studies Review. Together with his brother, David H. Elazar, he published A Classification System for Libraries of Judaica.

[Yitzhak Kerem /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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