The child of a rabbinic family in Hungary, Rabbi Joshua Weiss (1894-1972) received his ordination at a yeshiva in Zehlim under Rabbi L. D. Greenwald. He served as chaplain for the Austria-Hungarian army during World War I and as an assistant rabbi in Romania before immigrating to Pittsburgh in 1924. He was the first spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El of Beechview before the congregation moved to the South Hills.
After five years with Beth El, Rabbi Weiss spent eight years leading Ohave Zedeck Congregation in East Pittsburgh and served a congregation in Lancaster, Pa., before joining the Homestead Hebrew Congregation in 1945. He was hired by Congregation B’nai Emunoh of Greenfield in 1953 and served the congregation for nearly twenty years, until he died. Under his tenure, the membership of the congregation more than doubled.
In addition to his rabbinic work, Weiss was trained as a cantor, a shochet (kosher butcher) and a mohel (one who performs ritual circumcisions). “Thousands of my listeners have praised my speaking ability both in Yidish (sic) and English,” he wrote in an application letter to Homestead Hebrew Congregation in 1944. “My language is clear and effective and carries force behind it.” Rabbi Weiss was active in local religious Zionist organizations and served as president of the Pittsburgh District Mizrachi Organization.