Louis D. Gross (1885-1964) was a congregational rabbi and newspaper publisher who riled mainstream Jewish leaders with his spirited calls for U.S. action to aid refugees.
Rabbi Gross was spiritual leader of the Union Temple, a Reform synagogue in Brooklyn. He founded the Brooklyn Jewish Examiner, a weekly newspaper, in 1929, and served as its publisher until 1956, when it merged with the American Hebrew.
In the spring of 1938, Gross sent a letter to a number of public figures, asking if they would support increasing the number of European Jewish refugees admitted to the United States. In response, an official of the American Jewish Committee met with Gross to try to convince him “that he was injuring the welfare of our people by this agitation.” The official reported afterwards that Gross “promised to refrain from carrying on his agitation in the future.”
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, leader of the American Jewish Congress, successfully lobbied New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to refrain from renewing Gross’s appointment to the Board of Higher Education. Wise privately disparaged Rabbi Gross as an “awful” person who “has surrounded himself with a lot of cheap nobodies.”