Cronbach, Abraham, 1882-1965
Rabbi and professor of social studies at Hebrew Union College.
From the description of Papers, 1902-1965. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70922431
Abraham Cronbach was born on February 16, 1882, the son of German immigrants, Marcus and Hannah (Itzig) Cronbach. Cronbach grew up in Indianapolis, where his father was a notions store retailer. In September 1898, Cronbach entered Hebrew Union College where, in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati, he studied for his bachelor's degree while training for the rabbinate. In 1902 Cronbach graduated from the University of Cincinnati and four years later -- June 1906 -- was ordained as a rabbi.
Cronbach began his rabbinical career at the Reform congregation of Temple Beth El in South Bend, Indiana. Although he had assumed a pulpit immediately upon his ordination, he maintained his interest in education and his ties with Hebrew Union College. In 1910 Cronbach was called upon to give the eulogy for Ephraim Feldman, a professor at the College. In 1911, he spent a year abroad studying at the University of Cambridge and the Hochschule (Lehranstalt) fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin) and in 1915 received the Doctor of Divinity degree from Hebrew Union College.
Cronbach resigned his pulpit in South Bend in 1915 and for the next seven years served in three different rabbinical capacities. From 1915 through 1917 he worked with the Free Synagogue in New York City; from 1917 through 1919 he was rabbi at the Akron Hebrew Congregation; and from 1919 through 1922 he served as institutional chaplain for the Chicago Federation of Synagogues.
In December 1920 Cronbach delivered a series of lectures on chaplaincy procedures at Hebrew Union College. In 1922 Cronbach was appointed a professor of social studies at Hebrew Union College, where he remained for the rest of his life.
As a professor at HUC Cronbach participated in the civic activities of Cincinnati as well as activities on the HUC campus. He was an active member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and participated in Cincinnati's Jewish Fellowship House and the Cincinnati Big Brother Association. In 1939 Cronbach became secretary to the Board of Editors of the Hebrew Union College Annual .
As a result of World War I, Cronbach became an ardent pacifist and throughout his career worked arduously for pacifist causes. In 1923 he helped found the Peace Heroes Memorial Society, whose national headquarters was located in Cincinnati. Cronbach served as national secretary and, as such, was instrumental in establishing Memorial Day services around the country in honor of the heroes of industry, maternity, pacifism, etc. The services were an annual event in Cincinnati from 1923 through 1941.
In 1924 Cronbach sought to establish a specifically Jewish pacifist organization. A Pledge for Jewish Pacifists was sent out and although at least fifteen signed pledges were returned, including ones from Max Heller and Jacob Weinstein, a formally structured organization never developed.
Cronbach's pacifist tendencies increased with the threat and advent of World War II. In 1935 he called for a conference between Nazis and Jews in Philadelphia for the purpose of reconciliation. In that same year he worked with the American Friends Service Committee to raise $5,000 for an Austrian Relief Fund which was to aid persecuted Austrians as well as German Jews and Nazis who had fled to Austria from Hitler's Germany.
Throughout the war Cronbach supported conscientious objectors and, in 1942, helped found the Jewish Peace Fellowship, which he described as a "religious organization of Jewish persons who believe war to be as futile as it is fiendish." Immediately after the Allied victory Cronbach addressed letters to the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Conference, asking that they not seek punishment of Nazi war criminals.
In 1952 Cronbach became a sponsor of the Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case and for the next two years worked diligently for the Committee. Cronbach carried on an active letter writing campaign, urging others to help secure clemency for the Rosenbergs and, on June 16, 1953, met with President Eisenhower to beseech him to pardon the Rosenbergs. When this attempt failed, Cronbach addressed those at the Rosenbergs' funeral, asking them not to lose heart at their defeat. Cronbach continued to work with the Committee throughout 1956 on behalf of Martin Sobell.
Cronbach retired from active teaching in 1950, becoming emeritus professor of social studies at Hebrew Union College. Thereafter he devoted much of his time to writing and published several books and numerous articles.
Cronbach married Rose Hentil on October 7, 1917. They adopted a daughter, Marion, in 1923. Abraham Cronbach died on April 2, 1965 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
From the guide to the Abraham Cronbach Papers, 1902-1965, 1920-1960, (The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives)
|referencedIn||Isserman, Ferdinand M. (Ferdinand Myron), 1898-1972. Papers, 1870-1971.||American Jewish Archives|
|creatorOf||Cronbach, Abraham, 1882-1965. Papers, 1902-1965.||American Jewish Archives|
|referencedIn||Correspondence Regarding Immigration, 1910 - 1949||United States. National Archives and Records Administration|
|creatorOf||Abraham Cronbach Papers, 1902-1965, 1920-1960||The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives|
|referencedIn||Bernard J. Bamberger Papers., 1909-1979.||The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives|
|referencedIn||Cincinnati Peace League. Collection, 1925-1949.||Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC|
|creatorOf||Cronbach, Abraham, 1882-1965. Collection, 1930-1940.||Swarthmore College, Peace Collection, SCPC|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (State)--New York|
|Social service--Religious aspects|
|Reform Judaism--United States--Societies, etc|
|Jewish college teachers--Ohio--Cincinnati|
|World War, 1939-1945--Jews|
|Jewish college teachers--Ohio--Cincinnati|
|Social science teachers--Ohio--Cincinnati|
|Rabbi--New York (State)--New York|