David de Sola Pool

The leading 20th-century Sephardic rabbi in the United States

Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool was the foremost Sephardic rabbi in the United States during the middle decades of the 20th century. Born and raised in London, he came to New York in 1907 to become assistant rabbi to his relative, Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, at the historic Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue.  Dr. Pool was associated with Shearith Israel for the duration of his life, except for three years that he spent in the land of Israel 1919-1922. In 1917 he married Tamar Hirshenson.

Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool translated and edited the Sephardic prayer book for the Union of Sephardic Congregations and the Ashkenazic prayer book for the Rabbinical Council of America. He also authored a well regarded work on the origins of the Kaddish prayer. In addition, he wrote the book Why I am a Jew. 

He recorded several excerpts from the prayer according to the traditional melodies of the Spanish-Portuguese community.


Angel, Rabbi Marc. "Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool: Sephardic Visionary and Activist," Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, Issue 28.

"David de Sola Pool" at Wikipedia.

Tidhar, D. (1957). Entsiklopedyah le-halutse ha-yishuv u-vonav (Vol. 8, p. 3072) (In Hebrew)


David and Tamar de Sola Pool, An Old Faith in the New World: a Portrait of Shearith Israel, 1654-1954, Columbia University Press, New York, 1955.

Nima Adlerblum, “Reflections on the Life and Work of Rabbi David de Sola Pool,” Tradition, 30:1, fall 1995, pp. 7-16;

David de Sola Pool, “My Spiritual Autobiography,” in Thirteen Americans, Louis Finkelstein ed., Institute for Religious and Social Studies, New York, 1953, pp. 201-217.

Ben Elton, “New York Orthodoxy Between the Wars,” Conversations, no. 20, autumn 2014, pp. 40-44.

"David de Sola Pool" at the National Library of Israel website. (Includes a number of recordings of the traditional Spanish-Portuguese melodies)