Gordon, Albert I.

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GORDON, ALBERT I. (1903–1968), U.S. rabbi and sociologist. Gordon, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, earned his B.A. from New York University (1927), was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary (1929), and received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1949). He served as a rabbi in Temple Israel in Washington Heights, New York, and then in Congregation Kneset Israel-Beth Shalom in Kansas City before he moved to Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1930–46), a congregation in transition between generations. He modernized the services and attracted new members, increasing the congregation more than fourfold to 400 families. He was also active in the community, serving the War Labor Board and conducting a weekly radio broadcast. He left the congregation to serve as executive director of the United Synagogue of America (1946–50), where he expanded lay involvement and helped found the first Camp Ramah in Wisconsin under the initiative of the Chicago Council of United Synagogue. He left after considerable success and significant expansion but also in great frustration and returned to the pulpit as rabbi of Temple Emanuel, Newton, Massachusetts (1950–68). Under his leadership, which coincided with the suburbanization of American Jews, the school there expanded more than threefold to 1,000 students who studied four days a week. The synagogue expanded its building and classroom facilities. He was a member of the faculty of neighboring Andover Newton Theological School and taught sociology at Boston University, and held many positions in the Jewish community. He wrote four sociological studies, which constitute a substantial contribution to the study of American Jewry: Jews in Transition (1949); Jews in Suburbia (1959); Intermarriage: Interfaith, Interethnic and Interracial (1964); and The Nature of Conversion (1967). He also wrote a series of booklets on marriage.


M. Sklare, Conservative Judaism (1955, rev. 1972), 219–22; P.S. Nadell, Conservative Judaism in America: A Bibliographical Dictionary (1988), 117–18.

[Jack Reimer /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]