Marmur, Dow

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MARMUR, DOW (1935– ), rabbi, teacher, author. Marmur was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, an only child in a Po'alei Zion (left) family. In 1939, the family moved to the Lvov region, escaping the German invasion. They were deported to Siberia in 1940 by Soviet authorities but, following Operation Barbarossa, released and found refuge in Uzbekistan, where they remained until their repatriation to Poland in 1946. Although largely unschooled, the young Marmur had already learned four languages.

The family moved to Gothenburg, Sweden in 1948, where Marmur not only learned Swedish but English, German, and Hebrew as well. Attracted to Liberal Judaism, he entered the Faculty of Religion at the University of Stockholm in 1956, the same year he married Fredzia Zonabend, a survivor of the Lodz ghetto. Not feeling fulfilled at university, Marmur and his wife moved to London, where he entered the Leo Baeck College. Under the tutelage of several luminaries, including Ignaz *Maybaum, he graduated in 1962 and was already serving as rabbi of South-West Essex Reform Synagogue in Ilford. In 1969, he became rabbi of North-Western Reform Synagogue in Alyth Gardens and in 1983 moved to Toronto to become rabbi of Holy Blossom Synagogue, the largest Reform congregation in Canada. He remained at Holy Blossom until his retirement in 2000.

Marmur wrote six books, notably Beyond Survival (1982); The Star of Return (1991); and an autobiography, Six Lives (2004). He has wrote extensively in newspapers and journals, taught at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, and was a fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto. An ardent Zionist, he also served as the first chair of arzenu, the international movement of Reform Zionists; president of arza Canada, the Association of Reform Zionists of America; vice president of the Canadian Zionist Federation, and as a member of the executive of the World Zionist Organization. After retirement, he became Interim executive director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem.

Marmur was a champion of progressive social causes in Canada and Israel, where he remained sympathetic to the peace movement. He was founder of the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada, which seeks to build bridges between Poles and Jews.

[Frank Bialystok (2nd ed.)]