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|Subject: Samuel Rabinove, Director for American Jewish Committee|
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Date Posted: June 26, 2002 3:23:08 EDT
Samuel Rabinove, who as legal director of the American Jewish Committee for more than 30 years was a prominent advocate of strict church-state separation, died on June 9 in White Plains. He was 79 and lived in White Plains.
The cause was complications after suffering pneumonia, his family said.
As chief lawyer for the committee, Mr. Rabinove shaped and stated the organization's position in dozens of friend-of-the-court briefs before state and federal courts. These included cases on civil rights, school prayer, the rights of Sabbath observers and the public display of religious symbols, like crèches on municipal property.
Jewish organizations like the committee have generally taken a strong position against church-state entanglements, seeing them as harmful to all minority groups. Mr. Rabinove was known for seeking outside partners for these legal positions, often filing briefs together with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Council of Churches of Christ.
Mr. Rabinove was born in the Bronx. He earned his bachelor's degree at City University, was a Navy officer in World War II and then received a law degree from Columbia.
He worked at the committee from 1966 until his retirement in 1997. He wrote frequently on religious liberty issues for Commentary, Christian Century and The Journal of Law and Religion.
He also held leadership positions in organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Coalition Against Censorship and Project Equality, a national advocacy group for equal employment opportunities.
Mr. Rabinove is survived by his wife of 52 years, Anna; three daughters, Beth, of Manhattan, Amy, of Tuckahoe, N.Y., and Ellen Brook, of Owings Mills, Md.; one son, David, of Shelton, Conn.; and five grandchildren.
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