Professor Daniel J. Elazar (1934-1999) was a leading political scientist and specialist in the study of federalism, political culture, the Jewish political tradition, Israel and the world Jewish community. As founder and President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, he headed the major independent Jewish "think tank" concerned with analyzing and solving the key problems facing Israel and world Jewry.
Daniel Elazar was Professor of Political Science at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he founded and directed the Center for the Study of Federalism, a leading federalism research institute. He held the Senator N.M. Paterson Professorship in Intergovernmental Relations at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, heading its Institute for Local Government. In 1986, President Reagan appointed him a citizen member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the major intergovernmental agency dealing with problems of federalism. He was appointed for a second term in 1988 and a third in 1991. He was the founding president of the International Association of Centers for Federal Studies, was Chairman of the Israel Political Science Association, Secretary of the American Political Science Association, and was a member of various consultative bodies of the Israeli government.
Professor Elazar was the author or editor of more than 60 books and many other publications including a 4-volume study of the Covenant Tradition in Politics, as well as Community and Polity, The Jewish Polity, and People and Polity, a trilogy on Jewish political and community organization from earliest times to the present. He also founded and edited the scholarly journal Jewish Political Studies Review. His books in the area of federalism include The American Partnership; American Federalism, A View from the States; The American Mosaic; Cities of the Prairie and Cities of the Prairie Revisited; and Exploring Federalism. He was also the founder and editor of Publius, the Journal of Federalism.
Professor Elazar was recognized as an expert on Jewish community organization worldwide, on the Jewish political tradition, and on Israel's government and politics. He was a consultant to the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the City of Jerusalem, and to most major Jewish organizations in the U.S. and in Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia. He took a leadership role in numerous local and national Jewish organizations. He was President of the American Sephardi Federation, and served on the International Council of Yad V'Shem.
Professor Elazar was twice a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, was a Fulbright Senior Lecturer, and received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Earhart and Ford Foundations, the Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. He served as consultant to many federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development, the National Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States, and the Pennsylvania Science and Technology Commission, as well as to the governments of Israel, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, South Africa, and Spain.
Professor Elazar was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was awarded honorary degrees from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and Gratz College in Philadelphia, and received awards for distinguished scholarly contributions from the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management of the American Society for Public Administration, the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations of the American Political Science Association, and the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.
Professor Elazar was born in Minneapolis in 1934 and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He maintained residences in Philadelphia and Jerusalem, and is survived by his wife Harriet, three children, and grandchildren.