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Federbusch, Simon


FEDERBUSCH, SIMON (1892–1969), rabbi, author, and Zionist leader. Federbusch was born in Narol, Galicia. He was ordained by prominent rabbis in Poland before World War I and also received a rabbinical degree from the Vienna *Israelitisch-Theologische Lehranstalt in 1923. He settled in Lvov (Lemberg) and was a member of the Polish Sejm (parliament) from 1922 to 1928, and vigorously supported legislation for Jewish education and for the rehabilitation of Jewish war victims. Active in the Mizrachi movement from his student days, Federbusch helped found Ha-Po'el ha-Mizrachi and was president of the Mizrachi Organization of Galicia from 1924 to 1930. During those years he edited Gilyonot, a Hebrew weekly, and Mizraḥah, a Hebrew monthly. In 1930 he became rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of Helsinki, Finland, and the following year was elected chief rabbi of Finland. In this position he promoted interfaith understanding, helped defeat a bill banning sheḥitah, and helped secure Finnish entry visas for many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.

In 1940 he moved to New York City, where he was rabbi and principal of the Yeshiva Rabbi Israel Salanter (Bronx), a position he held until his death. He was president of Ha-Po'el Ha-Mizrachi of America from 1942 to 1948. From 1944 he was chairman of the *Histadrut Ivrit. He was a member of the executive of *Brit Ivrit Olamit ("The World Hebrew Union"), the executive of the World Jewish Congress, the World Zionist Actions Committee, the World Mizrachi Council, and the presidium of the World Federation of Polish Jews.

Federbusch was the author of many articles and scholarly works in Hebrew, German, Yiddish, English, Polish, and Swedish on rabbinical literature, Jewish philosophy and ethics, and religious Zionist thought. He tried to clarify contemporary problems in the light of classical Jewish sources. Among his works are Shelemut ha-Yahadut (1929), Iyyunim (1929), Ha-Musar ve-ha-Mishpat be-Yisrael (1943, 19472), Mishpat ha-Melukhah be-Yisrael (1952), Ha-Lashon ha-Ivrit be-Yisrael u-ve-Ammim (1967), World Jewry Today (1959), and Ḥikrei Yahadut (1965). He also edited a number of books, such as Maimonides, His Teachings and Personality (1956), Rashi, His Teachings and Personality (1958), and Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Ma'arav Eiropah (3 vols., 1958–1965; vol. 3 entitled Ḥokhmat Yisrael be-Eiropah) on modern European Jewish scholars.


D. Telsner, in: J.L. Maimon (ed.), Sefer Yovel… S. Federbush (1960), 9–40 (incl. bibl.).

[Gershon Hadas]

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