Magnes, Judah Leib (Leon)

(1877–1948)
   US and Palestine rabbi and educator. A native of San Francisco, Magnes was ordained a Reform rabbi in 1900. He became a minister in New York, where he founded the Kehillah (1908– 22), a communal framework for Jewish religion, education and social mores. The experiment failed because of internal disputes. Through the influence of Solomon SCHECHTER, Magnes left the Reform movement and joined the more traditionalist Conservatives. His prestige in American Jewry was great but his communal authority was damaged by his pacifism in World War I. Magnes was an early Zionist and a follower of AHAD HA-AM. In 1922 he settled in Palestine, becoming the first chancellor and later president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He modified his pacifism sufficiently to call for war against the Nazis, but earned much unpopularity in the yishuv through his advocacy of a Jewish-Arab bi-national state, through such groups as Brit Shalom and Ichud. He was widely regarded as a man of great moral stature but naïve political judgement. He died during the Israel War of Independence.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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