Friederman, Zalman Jacob

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FRIEDERMAN, ZALMAN JACOB (c. 1865–1936), U.S. rabbi. Friederman was born in Meretch (Merkine), Lithuania, in 1865 or 1866. He studied at several yeshivot in Vilna and possibly in Kovno (Kaunas) and Eishishok (Eishishkes), but the most influential rabbinic figure in his formative years was Rabbi Judah Halevi Lifshitz of Meretch. In 1890 Friederman married Dora, daughter of Jacob Halevi Lifshitz, who was the secretary of Rabbi Isaac Elhanan *Spektor and Judah Lifshitz's brother. Shortly thereafter he was ordained as a rabbi, and during the same year, 1890, he relocated to Amsterdam to serve as a rabbi. His dissatisfaction with this job led him to immigrate to America in 1892, joining his sisters and their husbands who had immigrated earlier.

After spending a few months in New York as rabbi of congregation Kol Yisrael Anshe Polin, Friederman accepted an offer to serve as rabbi of congregation Anshe Vilkomir of Boston, to which he relocated in early 1893, notwithstanding the opposition of another local Orthodox rabbi, Moses S. *Margolies. In 1896 Margolies left Boston, and shortly thereafter Friederman was appointed as the rabbi the Union of Orthodox Congregations of Greater Boston. In addition, he was a member of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, as well as Va'ad Harabanim of Massachusetts, founded a talmud torah in Boston, and over the years served as rabbi in several additional local congregations, such as Anshe Stonir, Anshe Zhitomir, and Sha'arei Zedek.

Friederman maintained close contacts with Rabbi Abraham I. *Kook and helped raise money for Jewish settlers in Palestine. In 1935 Friederman visited Palestine, where he died, being buried on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, close to Rabbi Kook.

Friederman wrote several polemic and homiletics books, all of which appeared during his lifetime: Emet Ve-Emunah (1895), Minḥat Ya'akov (1901), Naḥalat Ya'akov (1914), and Shoshanat Ya'akov (1927). In addition, he published many articles in East European and American Jewish newspapers, some of which relate to halakhic issues and others to contemporary aspects of American Jewry and Judaism, and contributed several entries to Judah *Eisenstein's encyclopedia, Oẓar Yisrael.


K. Caplan, Ortodoksi'ah ba-Olam ha-Ḥadash: Rabbanim ve-Darshanut be-Amerikah (1881–1924) (2002), 348–49; N.M. Kaganoff, Organized Jewish Group Activity in 19th Century Massachusetts (1979), 27, 29, 39, 232, 309, 311, 362; M.D. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996), 70–72.

[Kimmy Caplan (2nd ed.)