Stephen Samuel Wise 1874-1949

Stephen Samuel Wise was a highly influential Reform rabbi and human-rights advocate. Born in Budapest, he immigrated to the United States as a child. A lifelong Zionist and proponent of labor reforms and world peace, Wise cofounded America's first Zionist federation and served as a delegate to the Second Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where he met Zionist visionary Theodore Herzl. Along with Louis D. Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, Wise helped formulate the text of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and spoke on behalf of Zionist aspirations in Palestine at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1918-19, where he also pleaded for the cause of the Armenian people. In 1914 he participated in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded the American Jewish Congress in 1918, and created the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1922. When the Nazis came to power in 1932, Wise became a fierce advocate for intervention on behalf of Europe's Jews, working tirelessly to lobby President Roosevelt to intervene and staging boycotts and mass rallies.