SHAPIRO, EZRA ZELIG (7 May 1903-14 May 1977), attorney, Jewish community leader, and international Zionist figure, was born in Volozhin, Poland, to Esther (Brudno) and Rabbi Osias Shapiro. He was brought to Cleveland by his parents in 1906 and received his Jewish education in CLEVELAND HEBREW SCHOOLS. He earned a law degree from Northern University in 1925 and established a practice in Cleveland that year. He was Cleveland city law director from 1933-35. Shapiro was elected president of the Cleveland Zionist District in 1924. Ten years later he became chairman of the Natl. Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America. He was national vice-president of United Israel Appeal (1955-70) and a founder and first president (1957-60) of the American League for Israel, becoming honorary president in 1960. Shapiro was a delegate to several World Zionist Congresses beginning in 1937, and was instrumental in drafting the Jerusalem Platform that defined the direction for Zionism following the creation of the state of Israel.
Interested in Jewish education, Shapiro was president of Cleveland Hebrew Schools (1939-43) and the BUREAU OF JEWISH EDUCATION (1953-56). From 1959-66, he was vice-president of the American Assoc. for Jewish Education. Shapiro was on the board of the JEWISH COMMUNITY FED. (1934-70), PARK SYNAGOGUE (1950-70), and CLEVELAND COMMUNITY RELATIONS BOARD (1963-70); and president of the Jewish Community Council (1942-45). In 1971, Shapiro immigrated to Israel, becoming the world chairman of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal.
Shapiro married Sylvia Lamport in 1932 and had 2 children, Daniel and Rena (Mrs. Michael Blumberg). He died in Jerusalem and was buried there.
Ezra Z. Shapiro Papers, WRHS.