Nadich, Judah

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NADICH, JUDAH (1912– ), Conservative rabbi and postwar special advisor for Jewish affairs to General Dwight David Eisenhower. Nadich received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the City College of New York and his Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. He was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which also awarded him the degrees of Master of Hebrew Literature, Doctor of Hebrew Literature, and Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa).

Upon ordination he served as rabbi of Temple Beth David in Buffalo from 1936 to 1940 and of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago from 1940 to 1942. He then enlisted and served as an army chaplain for four years, spending 3½ years in the European Theater of Operations as senior Jewish chaplain with the U.S. armed forces and deputy to the theater chaplain. After the first German concentration camps were liberated, General Eisenhower appointed him his advisor on Jewish affairs, in which capacity he was instrumental in creating livable conditions for Jews who had survived the Holocaust, working with Displaced Persons and with other Jewish chaplians to urgently alleviate their desperate conditions. He received several American decorations, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Order of the British Empire. He retired from active duty in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The government of Israel decorated him with the Ittur Lohamei ha-Medinah for his service during wartime. The Jewish Welfare Board honored him with the Frank L. Weil Award for distinguished service in the Armed Forces. Following his retirement from the Army, Nadich spent a year and a half on an extended speaking tour, addressing Jewish communities in 40 states on behalf of the *United Jewish Appeal. On behalf of the *Joint Distribution Committee, he addressed Jewish communities throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia as the guest of the South African Jewish War Appeal.

He then went on to serve in the pulpits of two major Conservative congregations, very different in kind and in constituency. He was rabbi of Kehillath Israel (ki) in Brookline, Massachusetts, from 1947 to 1957; and in 1957 he came to Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan after the death of Milton*Steinberg, where he remained for three decades as rabbi and, after 1987, as rabbi emeritus. ki was located in a middle class suburb of Boston and its congregants were arch traditionalists; a four-day a week Hebrew School was the norm, followed by high school supplemental education at Boston Hebrew College. The congregation produced dozens of rabbis and Judaic scholars from its student body. Park Avenue Synagogue is located on the prestigious upper East Side. Its congregants were leaders of business and industry, Wall Street and the worlds of banking and finance. Nadich served both communities well.

Active in national as well as local affairs, Nadich was president of the Rabbinical Assembly; the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces; and the Jewish Book Council of America; vice president of Hadoar, the American Hebrew weekly magazine and an honorary vice president of the Jewish Braille Institute and a member of its board of directors from 1957. He was chairman of the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy of the Jewish Welfare Board. At the invitation of the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces Chaplains Board during November 1971, he conducted Torah Convocations in South Vietnam and Japan and visited Jewish chaplains and servicemen in those countries and in Thailand, with the brevet rank of major-general; similarly, in Germany in November 1974. In July 1990, he officiated at the first bat mitzvah in China. In 1992 the secretary of the Army appointed him to the commitee of the Department of Defense commemorating the 50th anniversary of World War ii.

He wrote Rabbi Akiba and His Contemporaries, The Legends of the Rabbis (2 vols.; 1994), The Jewish Legends of the Second Commonwealth (1983), and Eisenhower and the Jews (1953); he was the editor and translator of The Flowering of Modern Hebrew Literature (1959) by his late father-in-law, Menachem Ribalow; the editor of Al Halakhah ve-Aggadah (1960), a volume of Hebrew essays by Louis Ginzberg. His brochure on Yom Kippur, written for Jews in the armed forces of the United States, has a distribution in the hundreds of thousands.

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]