Many Mourn Rabbi Leon Harrison; Ascribe Death to Vertigo Not Suicide
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Many Mourn Rabbi Leon Harrison; Ascribe Death to Vertigo Not Suicide

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Secular Press, Men of All Faiths Join in Eulogies (Jewish ##)

The entire community was moved by the death of Rabbi Leon Harrison in New York on Saturday morning. Eulogies from men of all faiths and editorials in the press praised the contributions of the Rabbi to the community.

The “Globe Democrat” in an editorial said: “He was one of those who helped make this a thinking community and the time and places were many when he was called upon to define the significances of special occasions, to voice more accurately the happiness than we could ourselves express the thoughts and emotions.”

The “Post Dispatch” in an editorial declared that “He outgrew all the normal confines of his pastorate and became firmly established as one of the presiding minds of the community. Any attempt to mitigate the degree of loss occasioned by his death would be perfectly idle. Such men are never replaced. He was not merely the epitome of the very best in Jewish culture, he was an ornament to the city and to mankind. This entire community is better, wiser and more tolerant because he lived in it and to that extent he lives on.”

The funeral will be held here, burial to be at Mount Sinai Cemetery. The body will be brought here by Abraham Harrison, brother of the late Rabbi Harrison, Mrs. David C. Goodman, a sister, and Mr. Goodman. It will lie in state at Temple Israel, of which he was rabbi for thirty-seven years, from Wednesday until the funeral on Thursday.

Before the departure of Abraham Harrison, brother of the late Dr. Leon Harrison, for St. Louis, taking with him the body of the deceased, services were held at Temple Israel, New York.

Dr. Harrison D. Samuel officiated and eulogies were pronounced by Dr. Max Harris, retired rabbi of New Orleans, Dr. Thurman, Dr. Simon Cohen of Temple Israel and Dr. Max Heller.

It was at first thought that Dr. Harrison’s death, when he fell in front of an I. R. T. subway train at the 116th Street and Broadway station on Saturday morning, was a case of suicide. The entry on the police blotter was later changed to “accidental death” when Abraham Harrison explained that his brother had been suffering from arterial and nervous diseases and was nearsighted. Mr. Harrison said that Dr. Harrison had been suffering from hardening of the arteries and had recently had a nervous breakdown. He had no cause for despondency and the fall was attributed to an attack of vertigo.

Dr. Harrison, who was 62 years old, arrived in New York last Sunday on the steamer Belgenland after spending the summer in Europe.

One of the outstanding leaders of Liberal Judaism in the United States, Rabbi Harrison was born Aug. 13, 1866 in Livernool, England, and came to the United States at an early age. He was educated at Columbia University and Emanuel Theological Seminary, New York. He was ordained Rabbi by Rabbis Kohler and Gottheil in 1886.

At the age of 21, he delivered an oration at the funeral services of Henry Ward Beecher and delivered the McKinley memorial address in St. Louis Coliseum at the invitation of the municipality. He was founder of the Social Settlement League and the Fresh Air Society of St. Louis, where he served as rabbi of Temple Israel since 1891.

He was an editor of the Semitics Department of the Editor’s Encyclopedia, vice-president of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society and founder of the Sisterhood of Personal Service in St. Louis. Rabbi Harrison was one of the first Reform rabbis in this country to conduct the services not only in Hebrew but also in English, having himself translated a number of the prayers into English. He also introduced Sunday morning services at Temple Israel, announcing that these services were open to Jews, Catholics and Protestants and anyone who cared to come within its doors.

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