Rabbi Henry Gershon Vidaver: Orator and Patriot of San Francisco

Rabbi Henry Vidaver

Rabbi Henry Vidaver WS 13/1903

Rabbi Henry Vidaver, #WS13/1903

Values Codes  I – H – E – L


Rabbi Henry Vidaver was born in Warsaw, Poland.

He served as spiritual leader of Congrega­tion B’nai Jeshurun of New York from 1865 to 1873.

B’nai Jeshurun was New York’s first Ashkenazi congregation, having been founded in 1825.


San Francisco

In 1873, Rabbi Vidaver came to San Francisco to serve at Congregation Sherith Israel.

He made an enviable record in California, and was reputed to be the outstanding pulpit orator in the San Francisco of his day.

One commentator, Gustav Danziger, wrote in 1895 that Rabbi Henry Vidaver “excelled in learning of all the Rabbis that have ever been in San Francisco, past or present.”

In addition, Vidaver was the city’s handsomest rabbi.

Rabbi Vidaver WS 13/1902

Rabbi Henry Vidaver, #WS13/1902

He was in great demand as a lecturer, and was frequently called upon to travel to nearby communities to address Jewish and non-Jewish groups.

Rabbi Vidaver became a great patriot of his adopted country, and advised his congregants not only to appreciate America, but to become “thoroughly identified with this, our glorious land of freedom.”


Rabbi Henry Vidaver died in 1882 and was interred in the Row of Honor at Hills of Eternity, Colma, just South of San Francisco.





  • Morris B. Margolies, “American Career of Rabbi Henry Vidaver,” Western States Jewish History 16/1.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Rabbi Henry Vidaver,” Western States Jewish History 41/2.