Rabinowitz, Louis Isaac

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RABINOWITZ, LOUIS ISAAC (1906–1984), rabbi. Born in Edinburgh, he served as rabbi in the London communities of Shepherd's Bush, South Hackney, and Cricklewood, successively. During World War ii he was a senior Jewish chaplain with the British army in the Middle East and Normandy. In 1945 he became chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of Johannesburg and the Federation of Synagogues of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. He was appointed professor of Hebrew at the University of Witwatersrand and head of the Johannesburg bet din. In 1947, in protest against British policy in Palestine, he discarded his war decorations in public. An eloquent preacher, he was also outspoken in his criticism of the South African government's apartheid policy. Retiring in 1961, he settled in Israel and became deputy editor in chief of the Encyclopaedia Judaica (first edition). He was also a Gaḥal representative in the Jerusalem municipality from 1969 and in 1976 was appointed a deputy mayor of Jerusalem. He did not stand for re-election in the elections held in October 1978. In 1980 he was made a Yakir Yerushalayim ("Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem"), and in November of that year he was given the title of Chief Rabbi Emeritus of the Federation of Synagogues of South Africa.

Rabinowitz is the author of The Social Life of the Jews of Northern France (1938), Ḥerem Hayyishub (1945), and Jewish Merchant Adventurers (1948). His other books include Soldiers from Judea (1942), Far East Mission (1952), Torah and Flora (1977), and volumes of sermons.

[Lewis Sowden]