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Seman, Philip Louis


SEMAN, PHILIP LOUIS (1881–1957), U.S. educator and organization executive. Seman, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, went to the U.S. in 1892. After holding positions with Jewish organizations in New York and St. Louis and teaching at Washington University's School of Social Economy (1908–10), Seman became director of the Jewish People's Institute of Chicago in 1913. He held this post until 1945, during which time he turned the institute into a vitally important institution in Chicago Jewish life and became recognized as a national leader in Jewish social work. During his tenure in Chicago, he was co-founder of Hillel (1923); president of the National Conference of Jewish Social Service (1931); vice president of the National Conference on Social Work (1932); member of the executive commission of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection; and chairman of the Chicago Recreation Commission (1934). After retiring from the institute Seman moved to Los Angeles, where he became a member of the board of the Bureau of Jewish Education (from 1947), and of the faculty and board of overseers of the University of Judaism (from 1949).

His works include Jewish Community Life (1924); The Jewish Community Center (1925); Problems of the Leisure Hour (1927); Training for Leadership (1928); Social Orientation (1930); and Community Culture in an Era of Depression (1932).

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