DEMBITZ, LEWIS NAPHTALI:
By: Cyrus Adler
American lawyer, scholar, and author; born Feb. 3, 1833, at Zirke, in the province of Posen. Prussia; educated at the gymnasia of Frankfort-on-the-Oder, Sagan, and Glogau, in Prussia, and attended the law course for one semester in Prague. He then studied American law in offices at Cincinnati, Ohio, and Madison, Ind. After doing journalistic work for a time, he began in 1853 the practise of law at the bar of Kentucky, in Louisville, which practise he has continued uninterruptedly ever since. Dembitz was a delegate to the National Republican Convention of 1860, assistant city attorney of Louisville, 1884-88, and is (1901) a commissioner for Kentucky to the Conference for the Uniformity of State Laws.
In 1888 Dembitz drafted the first Australian ballot law ever adopted in the United States, to govern elections in Louisville. His legal works include: "Kentucky Jurisprudence," 1890; "Law Language for Shorthand Writers," 1892; and "Land Titles in the United States," 2 vols., 1895. He is the author of "The Question of Silver Coinage," in the "Present Problem Series," 1896, No. 1; and has written a number of book-reviews for "The Nation," 1888-97, besides articles in other magazines and in newspapers.
Dembitz is strongly attached to conservative Judaism. He was one of the early members of the executive board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and in 1878 a member of the commission on the plan of study for the Hebrew Union College. In 1898 he acted as chairman at a convention of Orthodox congregations, and was elected a vice-president of the Orthodox Jewish Congregational Union of America. In addition to memoirs,articles, and addresses which have appeared in Jewish papers, he has published "Jewish Services in Synagogue and Home," 1898; "The Lost Tribes," in the "Andover Review," Aug., 1889; and has revised Exodus and Leviticus for the new translation of the Bible to be issued by the Jewish Publication Society of America.