Mark, Julius

views updated


MARK, JULIUS (1898–2002), U.S. Reform rabbi. Mark was born in Cincinnati, where he earned his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1921 and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in 1922. He served as rabbi of Temple Beth El in South Bend, Ind. (1922–26), and the Vine Street Temple in Nashville, Tenn. (1926–48) before becoming rabbi of New York City's Temple Emanu-El. Under Mark's leadership, Emanu-El more than doubled in size (to 3,200 families) and grew to become the largest Jewish congregation in the world. During World War ii, he joined the U.S. Navy and served for several years as Jewish chaplain to the Pacific Fleet, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander on the staff of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Returning to civilian life, he served on the executive committee of the United States Commission for unesco; as a life trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies; on the boards of the National Conference of Christian and Jews and the Anti-Defamation League; as honorary vice chairman of the Lighthouse for the Blind; and as honorary president of the American Jewish Encyclopedia Society. He also joined with the clergy of neighboring churches to work for social justice in New York City.

In the service of Reform Judaism, Mark was a member of the governing board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a member of the Executive Board of the *Central Conference of American Rabbis, and chairman of the ccar-uahc Commission on Justice and Peace. He also served two terms as president of the *Synagogue Council of America. For his many contributions, he received the Human Relations Award of the Methodist Church (1963); the Gold Medallion for Courageous Leadership of the National Conference of Christian and Jews (1966); Clergyman of the Year Award from Religious Heritage of America (1969); and repeated recognition from the State of Israel Bonds Organization (1967, 1968, 1970). Five colleges and universities awarded him honorary doctorates in law, divinity, humanities, sacred theology, and humane letters. Among the books Mark wrote was Reaching For the Moon (1959). Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel and Sidney Wallach edited a collection of papers entitled Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Pursue on the occasion of Mark's 75th birthday, as an expression of gratitude of the Jewish Conciliation Board with whose services and leadership Mark has long been identified.

[Bezalel Gordon (2nd ed.)]