Magnes, Judah Leon

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Magnes, Judah Leon

(1877–1948) rabbi, educator; born in San Francisco. Educated at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, he became a Reform rabbi and an ardent Zionist. From 1906 to 1910 he was rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in New York, after which he tried to create a Jewish community structure in New York, known as a Kehilla (1910–22), with the goal of coordinating Jewish religious cultural and other activities. In 1923 he moved to Jerusalem and became the first chancellor of the Hebrew University (1925–35). He supported the idea of an Arab-Jewish state, often criticized Zionist policies, and opposed the 1947 partition of Palestine.
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Judah Leon Magnes was an American Reform rabbi who moved theologically to a centrist traditionalism, and politically to a vigorous dissent from what he saw as American Jewish assimilationism, toward a personal Zionism which led him to become the main founder and first president of the Hebrew University, where he served until his death in 1948.