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Goldman, Martin Jacob


GOLDMAN, MARTIN JACOB (Mordechai ; 1917–1991), rabbi, Jewish educator. In his youth Goldman was known as the Yerushalmi Ilui (prodigy in Talmud) in the Hebron Yeshivah. At the age of 18 he was tested by the greatest rabbis in Jerusalem – Ezekiel Sarna, R. Isaac Herzog, R. Issur Zalman Meltzer, R. Eliyahu Rom, R. Katz, and R. Moshe Mordecai Epstein – who gave him the ordination of "Yore Yore, Yadin Yadin."

When he followed his family to New York and realized that he would need a broader education, he taught Talmud to some of the faculty at the Jewish Theological Seminary in return for rooms at the dorm so he could study for his bachelor's degree at New York University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. (1963) at Harvard, working under Harry *Wolfson.

After teaching at the Hebrew Teachers' College in Boston for 20 years, he became the Maxwell Abell Professor of Talmud in Chicago and the Dean of the College of Jewish Studies there, which soon became Spertus College.

Realizing that there were no departments of Jewish studies in the Chicago academic scene, he instituted a consortium of seven Chicago area universities and colleges with Spertus College serving as their department of Jewish studies. Joint degrees were awarded to students who could study Jewish subjects on the same level as their other subjects.

The most popular of his courses at Spertus was "The Talmud in Contemporary Society." Some of the subjects covered in this course were psychology, marriage, civil law, business, sex, medicine, and government, and it was frequented by lawyers, judges, and physicians in the Chicago community.

He wrote on many burning contemporary medical issues, such as his work "Abortion in Jewish Law" and articles on transplants and the time of death. He was called upon frequently to represent the authentic Jewish voice in Interfaith Conferences and was routinely consulted by other rabbis on talmudic questions.

[Celia Goldman (2nd ed.)]

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