By: Mel Wacks
Rabbi Henri Noach, a relative of Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785-1851), was recently presented with the Mordecai M. Noah medal issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame in 2012.
Rabbi Henri Noach shares Mordecai Noah’s eclectic interests in journalism, theater, and especially Zionism and Jewish affairs.
Rabbi Noach indicated that his relationship with Mordecai Noah is “a well established tradition in our family.”
Interestingly, in 1965 Rabbi Noah had his bar mitzvah at Shearith Israel Congregation in New York City, where a portrait of Mordecai M. Noah hangs on the wall near the entrance of the synagogue.
“Our family’s ancestry goes back to the 18th century in Germany. One branch immigrated to Holland, and another branch to the United States,” Noach said. “Mordecai Noah descends from this latter branch, while my branch of the family immigrated to Holland in the late 18th century. The bottom line is we are related, but I have not been able to trace the line of common descent.”
Henri Noach has worked many years as rabbi and lecturer. He served as rabbi of the Jewish Community of Japan from 2002 through 2008, and also taught Jewish history at Waseda University for about four years before returning to Jerusalem in 2009. Since then, he has been a lecturer and program coordinator for French Jewish Students at the Hebrew University School for Overseas Programs.
Rabbi Noach has also been lecturing in the field of public diplomacy for the Israel Foreign Ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, in English and French, to participants from Africa and Asia.
In his rabbinical capacity, he has lectured regularly to Catholic priests and missionaries at special courses given at Saint Anne in Jerusalem’s Old City.
A limited number of Mordecai Manuel Noah 2-inch medals are available in bronze and silver-plated bronze for contributions of $35 and $85, respectively to the Jewish-American Hall of Fame. Credit card orders can be placed by calling (818) 225-1348.
Mel Wacks is director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.