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NOWAK, ABRAHAM

NOWAK, ABRAHAM (28 Aug. 1890-22 Jan. 1977) was a leader in the JEWISH community and served as rabbi of two conservative Cleveland congregations.

Born in New York to Harris and Jennie (Yarzumbek) Nowak, Abraham was educated in the New York schools, earning his bachelor's from the City College of New York and his master's degree from Columbia University. He then went on to the Jewish Theological Seminary for his rabbinical studies. He was ordained in 1913.

During WORLD WAR I, Nowak served as a military chaplain. Following the war, he moved to Hartford where he married Ann Segal (d. 1943) on 22 June 1921. They raised two sons, Wellville and Peter.

In April 1923 Nowak was called from Hartford to Cleveland to serve as rabbi for the B'NAI JESHURUN Temple, then located at Scovill Avenue and East 55th Street. Under his leadership, in 1926 the congregation moved to a new temple on Mayfield Road, just east of Lee Road, which became commonly known as the Temple on the Heights.

In 1931 the congregation elected him to a new term, but soon thereafter he found himself at odds with the temple board. The dispute between the board and members of the congregation who supported Nowak escalated, and eventually became public. In 1933 Nowak decided to resign.

He then helped organize a new congregation, known as the Community Temple (Temple Beth Am), with temporary headquarters in Coventry School. He stayed with the new congregation until 1936, when he accepted a call to Beth El Synagogue in New Rochelle, NY (1936-1943). During WORLD WAR II, Nowak again served as a military chaplain. Nowak died in Brooklyn, New York.