Moses S. Margolies

Rabbi Moses Sebulun Margolies (April 1851 – August 25, 1936) (Hebrew: משה זבולן מרגליות‎) was a Russian-born American Orthodox rabbi, who served as senior rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. In its obituary, The New York Times described Rabbi Margolies as the "dean of orthodox rabbis in North America," a "Zionist leader and Jewish educator."

Margolies was born in Kroza, Russian Empire (now Kražiai, Lithuania) in April 1851 and received his rabbinical training at the yeshivas in Kroza and Białystok. He received semicha from Rabbi Yomtov Lipman Heilpern, the Oneg Yom Tov. He became the rabbi of Sloboda at age 26, serving there until he was summoned to Boston in 1889 to serve as the chief rabbi for that city's Orthodox Jewish community. He came to New York City in 1906 to serve as rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, described by The New York Times as "one of the largest and most influential Orthodox congregations in the country."[1]

As part of the anti-Nazi Boycott of 1933, Rabbi Margolies rose from his sickbed to address the overflow crowd at Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1933, bringing the crowd of 20,000 to its feet with his prayers that the antisemitic persecution cease and that the hearts of Israel's enemies should be softened.[1]

Rabbi Margolies died at age 85 on August 25, 1936 at the Carlton Hotel in Belmar, New Jersey, with his wife, son and daughter at his bedside. He had been stricken with pneumonia a week before his death. Funeral ceremonies were to be held the following day at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun.[1]

His grandson-in-law, Rabbi Joseph Lookstein, had served as assistant rabbi at the congregation since receiving his rabbinical ordination in 1926, and had filled in for Margolies during his prolonged illness. Rabbi Lookstein became the congregation's senior rabbi following the death of Rabbi Margolies.[2]

Rabbi Joseph Lookstein founded the Ramaz School in 1937, which was named in honor of Rabbi Margolies, known by the acronym of "Rabbi Moshe Zevulun." Lookstein's son, (the future Rabbi) Haskel Lookstein, was a member of the school's inaugural class of six students.[3][4] The Ramaz School had an enrollment of approximately 750 students in 1990, which had grown to 1,100 students in elementary through high school by 2007.[5][5][6]


  1. ^ a b c Staff. "RABBI MARGOLIES DIES OF PNEUMONIA; Dean of Orthodox Synagogue Heads, 85, Zionist Leader and Jewish educator. FOUNDER OF RELIEF GROUP Rose From Sickbed in 1933 to Address Meeting of Protest Against Anti-Semitism.", The New York Times, August 26, 1936. Accessed January 22, 2009.
  2. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang. "Joseph H. Lookstein Dead at 76; A Rabbi and Orthodox Educator; Responsibilities Increased," The New York Times, July 15, 1979. Accessed January 21, 2009.
  3. ^ Mark, Jonathan. "Rabbi Lookstein Remembers It Well," The Jewish Week, June 11, 2008. Accessed October 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "Our Early History," Ramaz School. Accessed October 15, 2015. "By the autumn of 1937 a new school was born. The Ramaz Academy first opened its doors to six children. Among these students was Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein's son, Haskel Lookstein."
  5. ^ a b Staff. "'Viva la Pluralism'", Haaretz, May 22, 2007. Accessed January 26, 2009.
  6. ^ Hartocollis, Anemona; Arenson, Karen W.; and Holloway, Lynette. "Bulletin Board", The New York Times, February 2, 2000. Accessed January 26, 2009.