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Dr. Claude Montefiore, Scholar, Philanthropist, Dead at 80; Exponent of Liberal Judaism

Dr. Claude J. Goldsmid-Montefiore, president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and a renowned scholar and philanthropist, died here yesterday morning after a long illness. His eightieth birthday, June 6, had been the occasion for international celebrations.

Among England’s most learned Jews, Dr. Montefiore was the author of a number of books on religious subjects. The founder and leading exponent of Liberal Judaism in England, he had often been the target of attack.

Dr. Montefiore was born in London in 1858. He was the grand-nephew of the famed Sir Moses Montefiore, nineteenth century philanthropist.

Dr. Montefiore was opposed to Zionism. “We have come forth from the ghetto to be world-wide and free,” He explained. “We cannot again be cribbed and confined by geographical limitations.”

A graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, Dr. Montefiore went to Germany to continue his studies. In 1930, he was awarded the British Academy Medal for Biblical Studies. Identified throughout his life with educational and philanthropic work, he was president of the Anglo-Jewish Association from 1896 to 1921, a post in which he was succeeded by his son, Leonard Montefiore; president of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue and president of the University College of Southampton until 1934.

Among his works are: Truth in Religion, The Bible for Home Reading, Some Elements of the Religious Teaching of Jesus; Elements of Liberal Judaism, Judaism and St. Paul, and the old Testament and After.