Liebman, Joshua Loth, 1907-1948

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Joshua Loth Liebman (1907-1948)

Joshua Loth Liebman was born in Hamilton, Ohio, on April 7, 1907, to Simon and Sabina (Loth) Liebman. After earning his A.B. from the University of Cincinnati in 1926, Liebman studied at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and was ordained as a Rabbi in 1930. A scholar and committed Zionist, Rabbi Liebman was also the author of Peace of Mind (1946) as well as a radio commentator on Jewish issues.

In 1939, Rabbi Liebman became the Rabbi of Temple Israel in Boston, and quickly reformed the synagogue's operations. There were no more Sunday services, and Friday night services and Bar Mitzvahs were reinstated. Hebrew was also introduced into services. Rabbi Liebman's focus was on bringing the Jewish people together around Judaism, especially important during the events of World War II.

In addition to Peace of Mind, Rabbi Liebman was also the author of The Religious Philosophy of Aaron Ben Elijah (1939), Hod and the World Crisis- Can we Still Believe in Providence (1941), and Teleology and Attributes in the Philosophy of Maimonides from the Hebrew (1943). He was also a contributer to various magazines and radio shows.

His sudden death on June 9, 1948 sent shock waves throughout the Jewish community. Numerous tributes and memorials were established in his name, but his contributions to the Reform movement remain his legacy.

1 Biographical information on Rabbi Liebman compiled from the following sources: Who Was Who in America, Volume II (1943-1950). Chicago: The A.N. Marquis Company, 1950. The Jews of Boston . Ed. Jonathan D. Sarna and Ellen Smith. Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

  • 1907: JLL born in Hamilton, Ohio on April 7
  • 1926: Graduates from University of Cincinnati (A.B.)
  • 1926 - 1929 : Lecturer in Greek philosophy and Taft Teaching fellow
  • 1928: Marries Fan Loth on July 4
  • 1928 - 1930 : Student at Hebrew Union College in Palestine, Harvard University and Columbia University
  • 1930: Ordained as Rabbi after graduating from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati
  • 1930: Earns Doctorate of Hebrew Letters
  • 1930: Receives Simon Lazarus Prize for highest academic honors and Youngerman prize for outstanding sermon at Hebrew Union College
  • 1930 - 1934 : Simon Traveling Fellowship in Philosophy
  • 1930 - 1939 : National radio preacher on NBC and ABC
  • 1939 - 1941 : Member of Executive Board of Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • 1942 - 1945 : Member of Committee on Army and Navy Religious Activities
  • 1945: Charles W. Eliot lecturer, Jewish Institute of Religion
  • 1946: Samuel Harris lecturer, Bangor Theological Seminary
  • 1947: Receives Distinguished Service Medal of Phi Beta Kappa
  • 1948: Earns honorary Doctorate from Colby College
  • 1948: Dies on June 9

From the guide to the Joshua Loth Liebman, papers, 1940-1947, (American Jewish Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Liebman, Joshua Loth, 1907-1948. Letter, 1944, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn William G. Braude Papers., 1930-1987. The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
creatorOf Joshua Loth Liebman, papers, 1940-1947 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn American Unitarian Association Presidential Papers, 1920-1927. Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Harvard Divinity School
referencedIn Temple Israel (Boston, MA), records, 1924-1996 American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Dreyfus, Carl. Letter : Boston, Mass., to Joshua L. Liebman, Boston, Mass., [1944 Apr. 8]. Brown University, Brown University Library
referencedIn Meyer, Annie Nathan, 1867-1951. Annie Nathan Meyer papers, 1858-1950 (bulk 1885-1948). American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Joshua Loth Liebman, papers, 1940-1947 American Jewish Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 1856-1941 person
correspondedWith Braude, William Gordon, 1907-1988 person
associatedWith Cardozo, Benjamin N. (Benjamin Nathan), 1870-1938 person
associatedWith Churchill, Winston, 1871-1947 person
associatedWith Dreyfus, Carl. person
correspondedWith Eliot, Samuel A. (Samuel Atkins), 1862-1950 person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Joshua Loth Liebman person
associatedWith Mann, Thomas, 1875-1955 person
associatedWith Meyer, Annie Nathan, 1867-1951. person
associatedWith Szold, Henrietta, 1860-1945 person
associatedWith Temple Israel (Boston, MA) corporateBody
associatedWith Weizmann, Chaim, 1874-1952 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Boston (Mass.)
Subject
Talmud
Judaism
Judaism and psychology
Judaism and social problems
Judaism--20th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1907

Death 1948

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