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Niemirower, Jacob Isaac

NIEMIROWER, JACOB ISAAC

NIEMIROWER, JACOB ISAAC (1872–1939), chief rabbi of Romania. Niemirower was born in Lemberg. In 1897 he was appointed rabbi of Jassy and in 1911 rabbi of the Sephardi community of Bucharest. In 1921 he was appointed rabbi of the main synagogue of Bucharest and shortly after, chief rabbi of Romania. He succeeded in uniting the Jewish communities of Romania under his leadership. As chief rabbi he was elected in 1926 to the Romanian senate – the first Jew to receive such an appointment – and was recognized by the government as the representative of all Romanian Jewry. He fought against the humiliating wording of the Romanian oath, more judaico, and succeeded in having it annulled. By force of his intellect and personality he became the chief figure in the religious as well as in the general communal life of Romanian Jewry. Although his election was largely due to the progressive element which dominated Jewish communal life there, Niemirower's authority was accepted by all circles, including the Orthodox, and his influence was decisive. He did much in the sphere of Jewish education founding Jewish schools and establishing a theological seminary, a society for Jewish education called Sharon, a society for Jewish studies, etc. He was president of the order of B'nai B'rith in Romania. He was an active Zionist and took part in the First Zionist Congress. In 1936 a Romanian nationalist made an attempt on his life and Niemirower was slightly wounded. He published many works in Romanian, German, and French on various Jewish topics. Between 1918 and 1932 his complete works were issued entitled Scrieri Complete (4 vols.). The fourth and fifth volumes of the journal Sinai (1932–33) were dedicated to him in honor of his 60th birthday.

bibliography:

Wininger, Biog, 4 (n.d.), 530f.; S.K. Mirsky (ed.), Ishim u-Demuyyot be-Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Eiropah ha-Mizraḥit Lifnei Sheki'atah (1959), 393–403; A. Shraga (ed.), Al Yehudei Romanyahbe-Ereẓ Galutam u-va-Moledet (n.d.), 21, 43f.; Ha-Rav Dr. Niemirower (1970).

[Itzhak Alfassi]

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