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November 11: Rabbi Louis Ginzberg

Lawrence Bush
November 11, 2016
Lithuanian-born Louis Ginzberg, who trained two generations of Conservative rabbis at the Jewish Theological Seminary and produced the enormously erudite and entertaining seven-volume collection of midrashic and aggadic materials from the Talmud, The Legends of the Jews, died just short of his 80th birthday on this date in 1953. A descendant of the Gaon of Vilna, Ginzberg helped maintain the halakhic identity of the Conservative movement through his scholarship (he wrote more than 400 entries for the Jewish Encyclopedia) and his institutional leadership, as well as his half-century of responsa. Ginzberg was also the author of a three-volume Commentary on the Palestinian Talmud (1941, in Hebrew). “The devil can quote scripture to his purpose, and were he more learned, he could quote the Talmud, too.” --Louis Ginzberg

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.