Judah Shapiro Dead at 68
Menu JTA Search

Judah Shapiro Dead at 68

Download PDF for this date

Dr. Judah Shapiro, a leading Zionist organizer, theoretician and educator, died here yesterday after a prolonged illness at the age of 68. Funeral services will be held tomorrow at the Riverside Chapet.

Shapiro was a life-long Labor Zionist and was former president of the Labor Zionist Alliance and was the president of the National Committee for Labor Israel at the time of this death. He was an early fighter for democracy in Jewish life and was a firm advocate of the right of dissent in Jewish life.

The Jewish people, he said frequently, practiced the first form of democracy in its adherence to disputation and the dialectic form of argumentation. This, he said, prevented the Jewish community from accepting as dogma the views of established leaders. He was also a firm advocate of the need for Jewish leaders to be accountable 16 the Jewish people for their policies, financial expenditures and actions.

The pressing issue in the life of Jewish communal activity in this country, he wrote, is “the need for the participation of individuals other than the rich; as well as the requirement of this society for a community which permits democratic participation of its constituents, makes leadership accountable to its adherents, and provides opportunities for dealing with aspirations of the group as well as urgencies of welfare clients.”

During his decades of activity in the Zionist and general Jewish community, Shapiro held leading positions in the Hillel Foundations, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, YIVO Center for Advanced Jewish Studies, National Conference of Jewish Communal Service, Farband, the Joint Distribution Committee, and the National Association of Jewish Center Workers.

Shapiro was the chairman of the commission on the reorganization of the Zionist movement in the United States which led to the formation of the American Zionist Federation. From 1971 until his death he conducted a regular radio program commenting on Jewish news on WEVD and also conducted a week, interview program for the radio station. He edited the Jewish Daily Forward’s Sunday English-language page and was the editor of Jewish Frontier and a contributor to many periodicals on topics dealing with Zionism, Jewish education, communal activities, Israel and Jewish life in America in the 1800.

He also traveled around the country as a lecturer and teacher. Among his numerous educational activities he was a professor of contemporary Jewish thought at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion School of Jewish Communal Service in Los Angeles from 1969-1976, professor of sociology in the graduate division of Herzlia Jewish Teachers Seminary in New York and was an instructor at the sholem Aleichem Mitlshul.

NEW YORK (JTA) — During August, 770 Soviet Jews arrived in Vienna, with 28.1% going to Israel, according to the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Compared with the same period in 1979, when 4711 Jews arrived in Vienna, this figure represents a decrease of over 83%

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund