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Louis Ginzberg

Louis Ginzberg (l) with Alexander Marx (r). Image courtesy of the American Jewish University.

Louis Ginzberg was a founding fellow and early president of the American Academy for Jewish Research. Ginzberg was born in 1873 in Kaunas, Lithuania to a prestigious Jewish family that traced its lineage back to many of the major religious figures of Lithuanian and Polish Jewry.

As a young man, Ginzberg studied in several institutions across Europe, eventually receiving a doctorate from the University of Heidelberg. In 1902, Solomon Schechter and Cyrus Adler invited him to join the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Ginzberg became a professor of Talmud at JTS, a position he held until his death. As a scholar, Ginzberg was known for his research on rabbinic legends and for his critical translations of the Talmud and other rabbinic sources.

Ginzberg was also a leading figure of the Jewish Conservative Movement, serving on the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and issuing responsa regarding Jewish legal issues. In 1945, AAJR published a Festschrift on the occasion of Ginzberg’s seventieth birthday. Ginzberg died in 1953 in New York City.