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Lessing Rosenwald Dead at 88

June 27, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Lessing J. Rosenwald, the founder and first president of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism and onetime chairman of the board of Sears, Roebuck and Co., died at his estate near here yesterday at the age of 88. A private funeral service was scheduled.

Lessing and his brother, William, are sons of Julius Rosenwald, who founded Sears Roebuck and built it into one of the nation’s largest retailing firms. William has been active for years in a variety of Jewish. organizations aiding Israel, including national chairmanship of the United Jewish Appeal from 1942 to 1963, chairman of the Israel Emergency Fund and vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee. The poles-apart views of the Rosenwald brothers on Zionism and Israel was for many years a focus of interest in the Jewish community.

As president of the Council for Judaism, Lessing Rosenwald signed a memorandum submitted in 1947 to the United Nations, the year that the General Assembly voted to recommend the partition of Palestine into economically linked Jewish and Arab states, asserting that the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine would be harmful to Jews throughout the world. After Israel was established, both leaders and members resigned from the Council for Judaism but not Lessing Rosenwald.

Active in Philadelphia’s cultural life, he was also a member of the Congregation Kneseth Israel, a major Reform synagogue, and president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Philadelphia from 1930 to 1934.

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