HABER, WILLIAM (1899–1988), economist and communal worker. Haber was born in Romania but immigrated to the U.S. in 1909. In 1937 he was appointed professor of economics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, was chairman of the Department of Economics in 1962–63, and from 1963 to 1968 was dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
Haber held important posts in U.S. government bodies, including that of chairman of the National Committee on Long Range Work and Relief Policy (1941); chief of the Planning Division of the Conference on Post War Relief Readjustment (1942); adviser on Manpower to the Director of War Mobilization (1945–46); and chairman of the Federal Advisory Council on Employment Security (1948–58). He was adviser on Jewish Affairs to Gen. Lucius Clay, Commander in Chief in Germany (1948–49).
Haber played a prominent role in Jewish organizations. He was chairman of the National Hillel Commission of B'nai Brith (1955–63) and of the Academic Council of the American Friends of the Hebrew University (1967). His main interest, however, was the *ORT organization. He was appointed president of the American ort Federation in 1950, and continued in that office after his appointment as president of the Central Board of the World ort Union in 1955. He retired from the ort presidency in 1980, although he remained honorary president of the federation and the international group until his death. ort created an award in Haber's honor in 1984, presented annually to people who have contributed to the federation's work or aims.
The University of Michigan also established an award in his honor. The William Haber Award is bestowed upon applicants who have created high-quality programs for the Jewish campus community.
Haber published some 20 books, including Unemployment Relief and Economic Security (1936), The Michigan Economy (1960), Social Security: Programs, Problems and Policies (1954, reprinted 1966), and Unemployment Insurance in the American Economy (with Merrill G. Murray, 1966). He also edited the book Labor in a Changing America (1966).
[Rohan Saxena (2nd ed.)]