Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser Square

Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser (1907 - 1984) was a leading figure in Conservative Judaism, a scholar, and the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens for 50 years.

Rabbi Bokser was born in Liuboml, which was then a part of Poland, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 13 in 1920. He attended City College of New York, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and received his PhD in 1935 from Columbia University. He taught for many years as an adjunct professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York. Bokser served as the rabbi of Forest Hills Jewish Center starting in 1933 and remained in that position for more than fifty years. He served for a two-year period as a United States Army chaplain during World War II and organized aid for Jewish soldiers.

Bokser was an advocate for social justice and took a position in favor of the construction of a housing project for the poor during the Forest Hills housing controversy of 1966-1972. He fought against the death penalty in New York state.

He served as a program editor for the Eternal Light, the Jewish Theological Seminary's radio program, was a professor of homiletics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and  participated in the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion and the Institute for Religious and Social Studies, both seminary-run programs. He was chair of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly from 1959–1960, 1963–1965, and 1980-1984. Among the books he wrote were ''Judaism and the Christian Predicament,'' a study of Jewish-Christian relations; ''Judaism: Profile of a Faith'' and ''Jews, Judaism and the State of Israel.''


“Ben Zion Bokser, 76; A Rabbi and Professor,” New York Times, February 2, 1984, https://www.nytimes.com/1984/02/02/obituaries/ben-zion-bokser-76-a-rabbi-and-professor.html

"Bokser, ben Zion, " Encyclopedia.com, May 4, 2023, https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bokser-ben-zion

Wikidata contributors, “Q4886756”, Wikidata, accessed December 7, 2023, https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q4886756