Dr. Leon A. Jick (1924-2005) was born in St. Louis to a Zionist family. He attended Washington University in 1941, but his studies were interruped by WW2. He entered the U.S. Air Force and upon returning to the states graduated from college in 1946. He was the first president of Washington University's Hillel Foundation. In the 1950s, he entered Hebrew Union College and became ordained. Jick then became assistant rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston, and in 1957 was elected rabbi of the Free Synagogue of Westchester in Mount Vernon, NY. In 1966, Brandeis University invited Jick to join the faculty as the director of the Lown Graduate Center for Contemporary Jweish Studies and as a professor of American Jewish history. While at Brandeis, Jick published the first book in American Jewish history - The Americanization of the Synagogue, 1820-1870. Jick taught at Brandeis for twenty-four years (1966-1990). Even after retiring, Jick continued to be a part of the Brandeis community.