Joseph Herman Hertz

Author, Zionist and chief rabbi of the British Empire for more than three decades.

Joseph Herman Hertz was an Orthodox rabbi, communal leader, proponent of Zionism and author who served as chief rabbi of the British Empire from 1914 until his death in 1946.

Hertz was born in Romania in 1872 but immigrated as a child to the United States, where he became, according to Rabbi Louis Jacobs’ The Jewish Religion, the first rabbi to be ordained at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary.

Hertz moved to South Africa in 1898, and despite a brief expulsion during the Boer War for his pro-British views, stayed there until 1912. Despite his Conservative ordination, Herz was a strong defender of Orthodox Judaism.

Learn more about Hertz in this JTA obituary. 

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