Fineberg, Solomon Andhil

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FINEBERG, SOLOMON ANDHIL (1896–1990), U.S. rabbi and communal leader. Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., Fineberg served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War i and then entered the University of Cincinnati and the Hebrew Union College, where he was ordained in 1920 along with Joseph L. *Baron, Bernard *Heller, and Jacob Rader *Marcus, a distinguished graduating class. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and later was honored with a D.D. from Hebrew Union College.

His first career was as a rabbi, serving congregations in Niagara Falls, n.y. (1920–24), and then returning to Pittsburgh (1924–26). He moved to White Plains, n.y. (1926–29), and then to Temple Sinai in nearby Mt. Vernon (1929–37), and for half that time simultaneously served as national chaplain of the Jewish War Veterans before joining the American Jewish Committee as National Community Relations Consultant. There he became, in the words of a colleague Isaiah Terman, "the foremost theoretician, strategist, practitioner, and adviser to Jewish community and intergroup organizations and to government agencies in the United States and abroad."

He is the author of several books including Biblical Myth and Legend in Jewish Education (1932) and Overcoming Antisemitism (1943), written at a critical time in the American Jewish experience. He wrote Punishment without Crime (1949), which both explores the sources of prejudice and suggests preventative programs to strengthen human relations. He took issue with the then current efforts of the American Jewish community to answer the charges of antisemitism, suggesting that they spread the libel. Instead he proposed an affirmative portrayal of the Jews. An anticommunist, he published The Rosenberg Case (1953), which demonstrated their guilt and suggested that the Jewish community not defend them, positions deeply unpopular with rank and file Jews. His work Religion behind the Iron Curtain brought attention to the plight of Soviet Jewry.

After formal retirement from the American Jewish Committee, he became a consultant to the National Conference of Christians and Jews for more than a dozen years (1965–78), working assiduously on race relations in New York at a time of great tension.


American Jewish Year Book (1992), 594; I. Terman, "S. Andhil Fineberg," in: Proceedings of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (1990), 188–90.

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]