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Louis Lipsky, Dean of American Zionist Movement, Dead; Funeral Friday

May 28, 1963
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Louis Lipsky, dean of American Zionists, friend and colleague of the late Dr. Chaim Weizmann in the building of the State of Israel, died today at his home here after an illness of two months. He was 86.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at the Riverside Memorial Chapel. Interment will take place at Mount Arrarat Cemetery, in Long Island. The service will be conducted by Rabbis Ira Eisenstein and Joachim Prinz. Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister and ex-Foreign Minister of Israel, now chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, will deliver the eulogy.

His death ended a career of 60 years as principal Zionist architect, theoretician, orator, builder and writer in the United States. His life and career spanned the entire history of the Zionist movement in America from its beginnings at the turn of the century to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

He was American Zionism’s helmsman throughout, first as secretary of the Zionist Organization of America, later as president of the ZOA; as a member of the World Zionist executive committee, and of the executive of the Jewish Agency, serving in London, Jerusalem and New York, and as a speaker and writer. He played a vital role in creating the climate in America which led to Woodrow Wilson’s espousal of a Jewish national homeland, followed by the issuance of the Balfour Declaration,


In the stormy years which followed, he organized a powerful movement to support the Palestine Jewish settlement against Arab terror and British violation of the Mandate. World War II saw him in the forefront of the movement to mobilize the entire Jewish community in support of a Jewish State at the war’s end through the American Jewish Conference.

He helped to create the American Jewish Conference and served as co-chairman of its interim committee from 1944 to 1949, using its platform to mobilize support for partition of Palestine and, after the United Nations Palestine partition resolution was adopted, to prevent its attrition.

Mr. Lipsky was born in Rochester, New York, November 30, 1876, the son of Jacob and Dina Rose Lipsky. He came to the Zionist movement after a successful career as a writer of short stories, essays, plays, book reviews and drama criticism. From 1910 to 1913, he was on the staff of the New York Morning Telegraph, writing on the theatre, contributing fiction book reviews and drama criticism.

Mr. Lipsky is survived by three sons; David, Eleazer and Joel, and by nine grandchildren. Eleazer Lipsky is president of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Mrs. Louis Lipsky, the former Charlotte Schacht, died in 1959.


Mr. Lipsky was the editor of the American Hebrew from 1900 to 1914. He resigned that post to become secretary of the Federation of American Zionists. He was the first editor of the first Zionist publication in English, The Maccabean. During his Zionist career he served at various periods as president of the Zionist Organization of America, chairman of the Palestine Foundation Fund, chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, chairman of the American Zionist Conference, chairman of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, and chairman of the Central Committee of the World Jewish Congress.

During the Hitler period he was in the forefront of the anti-Hitler movement, together with the late Dr. Stephen S. Wise, and served as one of the heads of the American Jewish Congress, which he had helped to found.

Committed to the democratic way of life, Mr. Lipsky sought to introduce democratic methods and concepts into the organization of Jewish life in America, and led many of the stormy battles of the first decades against the concept that devotion to Zionism and the use of the vote in Jewish organizational life involved dual loyalty. He was one of the founders of the World Jewish Congress in 1936.

In 1929, he helped Dr. Weizmann created the enlarged Jewish Agency. In 1930, he became the president of the Eastern Life Insurance Company, a post he held until his retirement in 1959. He came to know every American President from Theodore Roosevelt to Eisenhower.

Among Mr. Lipsky’s published works are: Collected Works, published in 1927; Gallery of Zionist Profiles, published in 1956; and Tales of the Yiddish Rialto, published in 1962.

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