Grayzel, Solomon

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GRAYZEL, SOLOMON (1896–1980), U.S. historian and communal leader. Grayzel was born in Minsk, Belorussia, but was educated in the United States. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1917 and his M.A. in sociology from Columbia University in 1920. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1921 and served as the first rabbi of Congregation Beth-El in Camden, n.j., continuing his studies at Dropsie College, where he earned a Ph.D. in history (1926). In 1929, upon his return from research studies abroad, he began teaching Jewish history at Gratz College in Philadelphia, continuing to teach there and serving as registrar until 1945. In 1939, he took an editorial position with the Jewish Publication Society of America, working under Isaac *Husik. At the latter's death in the same year he became the editor in chief, a position he held until 1966. He was elected to the presidency of the Jewish Book Council of America in 1945 and was connected with the Jewish Book Annual from its inception in 1942. From 1966, he taught Jewish history at Dropsie College.

Grayzel's major scholarly efforts centered on the relationship of Christians and Jews during the Middle Ages. His doctoral thesis, The Church and the Jews in the Thirteenth Century (1933, 19662), was followed by individual articles on related subjects, which appeared in the Jewish Quarterly Review, Historia Judaica, the Hebrew Union College Annual, and other publications. He also wrote a popular, one-volume History of the Jews from the Babylonian Exile to the Present (1947, 19682), widely used as a textbook, and A History of the Contemporary Jews from 1900 to the Present (1960).


A.A. Steinbach, in: Jewish Book Annual, 28 (1970), 110–115.

[Simcha Berkowitz]