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Rabbi Moritz Speier was born in Melsungen, Germany in 1878. He came to the United States in 1906 after graduating from the Jewish Teachers Seminary in Kassel and pursuing graduate studies in Judaica. Speier was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1912 and took his first pulpit at Congregation Rodef Sholom in Newport News, Virginia. From 1922 until 1937 he was rabbi of Congregation B'nai Sholom in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York. During the same period he served on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly for three years. Rabbi Speier's next and final pulpit was Beth Sholom in Mineola, also on Long Island.
Much of Rabbi Speier's work involved helping to create the infrastructure of the Jewish community on Long Island.
He also founded and guided the Young Folks League of Nassau County and was a board member of the Cancer Committee and the Multiple Sclerosis Committee. Rabbi Speier died in June, 1963.
Rabbi Speier's papers, 1903-1957, consist of clippings, photographs, letters of introduction, manuscripts and typescripts of writings, and a book. The collection is small, but it contains some interesting information about one of the Seminary's first graduates.
The clippings range from the 1912 commencement speech of Solomon Schechter, president of JTS (as reported by the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent) to several articles about Speier's activities.
The photographs include portraits of Rabbi Speier's Seminary classmates as well as other Seminary students; a photograph of Rabbi Speier with Rabbi Alter Abelson and the poet Edwin Markham; and a picture of a Nassau Boy Scouts Anniversary dinner, 1942.
The letters of introduction, 1903-1905, written in German, certify that Speier had been a teacher since 1898 and recommend him to Jewish employers in the United States.
Writings include an invocation delivered by Rabbi Speier at the Abilities Conference in 1957 and a biographical sketch.
The book, Young Folks Entertainment by E.C. and L.J. Rook (Penn Publishing Co., Philadelphia, 1903) contains songs and stories for use by members of the Young Folks League.
Of note is a photocopy of a World War One era memorandum addressed to Rabbi Speier, then a chaplain at a Navy base in Virginia, concerning the segregation of Jewish servicemen.