Vorst, Louis J.

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VORST, LOUIS J. (1903–1987), chief rabbi of Rotterdam, Holland. The son of a diamond worker, Vorst entered the Amsterdam Rabbinical and Teachers' Seminar in 1914 and obtained the degree of "Maggid" in 1924. He taught at Jewish elementary schools in Amsterdam and in 1927 became head of Jewish studies at the new Jewish post-elementary school there. In 1931 he was invited by Chief Rabbi A.B.N. Davids of Rotterdam to head Jewish education in that city. When Chief Rabbi Davids died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, Vorst, who had survived although seriously weakened, returned after the liberation to Rotterdam where he took over most of the duties of Chief Rabbi Davids as well as resuming his own duties. He was given the personal title of rabbi, although he had not obtained the rabbinical diploma entitling him to become a chief rabbi. In 1959 he passed the rabbinical examination at the Amsterdam Ashkenazi Seminar and was then appointed chief rabbi of the Rotterdam District. He retired in 1971 and went to live in Israel. On his retirement he was made a Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

On his promotion to the position of chief rabbi, the Jewish Congregation of Rotterdam in September 1959 published a volume of essays (Opstellen) in his honor.

[Henriette Boas]