Rabbi Maurice H. Harris, for 48 years spiritual leader of Temple Israel, died yesterday in Mt. Sinai Hospital after a brief illness at the age of 70. The funeral is expected to take place tomorrow morning at the Free Synagogue with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise officiating.
As a youthful student preacher Rabbi Harris founded the Hand in Hand Synagogue in 1882 in what was then the suburban community of Harlem. Some years ago the congregation changed its name to Temple Israel and moved to the West Side. The congregation recently celebrated Rabbi Harris’ seventieth birthday and in his address on that occasion called “Three Score and Ten,” he reviewed the history of American Jewry since 1878 when he came to this country from London.
As the founder and honorary president of the Federation Settlement House he was a pioneer in the settlement house movement. Rabbi Harris was always active in many communal and social enterprises, having been a charter member of the board of the Jewish Protectors and Prison Aid Society, the Jewish Board of Guardians and the New York Society for the Prevention of Crime. He was also active in the New York State Conference of Religion.
Rabbi Harris was a past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and of the Association of Reform Rabbis. He was the author of four works on Judaism.