ABRAHAMS, ISRAEL (1903–1973), South African rabbi and scholar. Born in Vilna and educated at Jews' College and London University, he was rabbi in London and Manchester before going to South Africa in 1937 as chief rabbi of the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation. In 1951 he became chief rabbi of the United Council of Hebrew Congregations of the Cape. From 1938 he held the chair of Hebrew at Cape Town University. He retired in 1967 and settled in Israel. An eloquent speaker, he held high office in all important communal institutions in Cape Town and was especially active in promoting the Zionist movement and Jewish education. He was a consulting editor to the Encyclopaedia Judaica. His major scholarly work was his translation into English of cassuto 's Hebrew commentaries: Documentary Hypothesis (1961); The Book of Genesis, 2 pts: From Adam to Noah (1961) and From Noah to Abraham (1964); Exodus (1967); and The Goddess Anath (1970); he also translated tractate Hagigah for the Soncino Talmud (1938). His other writings include: a history of Cape Jewry, The Birth of a Community (1955); Pathways in Judaism (1968); and Living Waters (1968). (Lewis Sowden)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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