Shapiro, Ezra Z.

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SHAPIRO, EZRA Z. (1903–1977), Zionist and communal leader. Shapiro, born in Volozhin, Russia, was brought by his family to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1906. Early in his life Shapiro became active in advancing Jewish education and in the Zionist Movement, two causes which he served vigorously on the local, national, and international levels. He became president of the Zionist District of Cleveland in 1924 and ten years later was elected chairman of the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America. As president of the Cleveland Hebrew Schools (1939–43) and the Cleveland Bureau of Jewish Education (1953–56), he helped create the system of communal education there. At the 1951 Zionist Congress, Shapiro, as chairman of its committee on fundamental problems, was instrumental in drafting the Jerusalem program redefining Zionist goals for the post-State era. He was a leader of the World Confederation of General Zionists and the American Jewish League for Israel which he helped found in 1957. He was vice president of the American Association for Jewish Education, 1959–66. Other areas of Cleveland public life in which Shapiro was active include his post as city law director (1933–35); member of the Cleveland Community Relations Board from 1963 and vice chairman from 1966; trustee of the Jewish Community Federation from 1934; and president of the Jewish Community Council (1942–45). In 1971 he settled in Jerusalem and became director of the Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal.

[Judah Rubinstein]