Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Chief Rabbi Juda L. Landau of Johannesburg Dies at Seventy-seven

August 27, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Chief Rabbi Juda Leo Landau, who has been a leading figure in Jewish life in South Africa for nearly forty years, died here today at the age of 77 after a protracted illness.

The chief rabbi was equally noted for his devotion to the Zionist cause, and his activities as a scholar, poet and playwright. A one-time president of the South African Zionist Federation, Dr. Landau was associated with Dr. Theodore Herzl when the organized Zionist movement was in its infancy. In Galicia, where he was born in 1866, later in Vienna, where he studied for the rabbinate and in England where he spent three years before emigrating to South Africa, Rabbi Landau was an active worker for Zionism.

His literary career began in 1879 when at the age of thirteen he wrote his first published poem. At fifteen he had already written a long epic poem, the “Love of Jonathan,” which appeared in the “Hamaskir.” A play, “Bar Kochba,” appeared when he was eighteen and a steady stream of poems, dramas and scholarly works followed in subsequent years. Several of his works were published in America, including one of his most famous, “Don Yitchok Abarbanel.”

In 1900, Dr. Landau came to London to attend the fourth Zionist Congress. At the advice of Dr. Moses Gaster he remained in England for three years studying, writing and acting as rabbi of the North Manchester Congregation. In 1903 he accepted a call from the New Hebrew Congregation in this city. He soon became a leader of South African Jewry, participating in communal, educational and literary activities. He held the chair of Hebrew at the Witwatersrand University.

Recommended from JTA