DEMBITZ, LEWIS NAPHTALI

DEMBITZ, LEWIS NAPHTALI (1833–1907), U.S. lawyer and Jewish leader. Dembitz was born in Zirke, province of Posen, Prussia, and went to the U.S. in 1849. He completed law studies in Cincinnati and then settled in Louisville, Kentucky, where he practiced law. Dembitz entered politics early and was elected to several Republican Party offices. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention that nominated Lincoln in 1860. In 1888 he drafted the first Australian (secret ballot) voting system. Dembitz wrote a number of books on American law, including Kentucky Jurisprudence (1890); Law Language for Shorthand Writers (1892); and Land Titles in the United States (2 vols., 1895). Dembitz's affiliation with Jewish life was at first through the Reform movement, and he was a member of the commission on the plan of study for Hebrew Union College. But after that institution became openly Reform, and especially after the acceptance of the pittsburgh platform , he joined the Conservative movement and helped to establish the Jewish Theological Seminary. Dembitz contributed several articles on Talmudic jurisprudence and on liturgy to the Jewish Encyclopedia and prepared the translations of Exodus and Leviticus which were incorporated into the revised English Bible of the Jewish Publication Society (1917). His volume Jewish Services in Synagogue and Home (1898) was widely used. His nephew, louis brandeis , who admired him greatly, changed his middle name from David to Dembitz. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Davis, Emergence of Conservative Judaism (1963), 333–5. (Jack Reimer)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali — (1833 1907)    American lawyer. He was born in Prussia and emigrated to the US in 1849. Initially he was involved with Reform Judaism, but later joined the Conservative movement and helped to establish the Jewish Theological Seminary. He… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

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  • Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… …   Universalium

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