Pool, David de Sola

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POOL, DAVID DE SOLA (1885–1970), U.S. rabbi, civic and communal leader, and historian. Pool, who was born in London, pursued his rabbinic studies, first at Jews' College, London, and then at the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. Pool went to the U.S. in 1907 to become minister of the Sephardi Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City, the oldest synagogue in the U.S. He served there until his retirement in 1956.

Pool's other posts and activities included: president of the New York Board of Rabbis (1916–17); member of Herbert Hoover's food conservation staff (1917); field organizer and director of army camp work of the Jewish Welfare Board during World War I (1917–18); U.S. representative of the Zionist Commission in Jerusalem to help implement the Balfour Declaration (1919–21); regional director for Palestine and Syria of the Joint Distribution Committee (1920–21); founder and director (1922) of the Jewish Education Committee of New York; president of the Union of Sephardic Congregations from 1928; president of the Synagogue Council of America (1938–40); chairman of the Committee of Army and Navy Religious Activities of the National Jewish Welfare Board (1940–47); vice president (1951–55) and president (1955–56) of the American Jewish Historical Society; and U.S. delegate to the nato Atlantic Congress in London (1959).

Pool wrote several significant works and monographs in the fields of American Jewish history, religion, education, and Zionism, and edited and translated Sephardi and Ashkenazi Hebrew liturgical works. His works include: The Kaddish (1909; 19643); Hebrew Learning Among the Puritans of New England Prior to 1700 (1911); Capital Punishment Among the Jews (1916); Portraits Etched in Stone: Early Jewish Settlers, 1682–1831 (1952); An Old Faith in the New World: Portrait of Shearith Israel, 1654–1954 (1955); Why I Am a Jew (1957); and Is There an Answer?: An Inquiry in Some Human Dilemmas (1966), the last three with his wife, tamar de sola pool (1893–1981). Mrs. Pool was national president of Hadassah from 1939 to 1943 and held executive positions with several other national and world Jewish organizations, among them the American Jewish Committee, the World Zionist Organization, and Youth Aliyah.


D. de Sola Pool, in: ajhsp, 52 (1962), 3–7; idem, in: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Thirteen Americans: Their Spiritual Autobiographies (1953), 201–17.