Haber, Samuel L.

views updated


HABER, SAMUEL L. (1903–1984), U.S. economist and organization executive. Haber, who was born in Harlau, Romania, was taken to the U.S. in 1911. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1924. He worked as a researcher on labor and economic problems (1925–43), and then served in the U.S. Army, 1943–46. In 1947 Haber became director for Germany of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, where he headed an extensive program for approximately 200,000 displaced persons (DPs). He developed and directed programs to assist in their rehabilitation and immigration to Israel, the United States, and other amenable countries. In 1954 Haber was sent to Morocco to organize a comprehensive Jewish welfare program for more than 50,000 of the country's 240,000 Jews. In 1957 he established a welfare program for Jews in Poland, becoming the first jdc representative permitted to function in that country since 1950. After serving as assistant director general of JDC's European headquarters in Geneva (1958–64) and assistant executive vice-chairman in New York (1964–67), Haber was appointed to succeed the murdered Charles *Jordan as Joint executive vice-chairman in 1967. Although Haber retired from the JDC at the end of 1975, his co-workers honored him by electing him honorary executive vice president of the organization.

From the 1960s to the early 1980s Haber was also a frequent speaker at fundraising campaigns in American Jewish communities; he served as vice chairman of the American Council of Agencies; vice president of the Israel Education Fund of the United Jewish Agency; national chairman of the Associates Division of the American Friends of Hebrew University; chairman of the executive committee of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of Hebrew University; consultant for the Jewish Studies program of Columbia University; and trustee of the interfaith Hunger Appeal, which he helped establish in 1978.

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]