Goldstein, Herbert S.

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GOLDSTEIN, HERBERT S. (1890–1970), U.S. rabbi. Goldstein was born and educated in New York City, receiving his B.A. (1911) and M.A. (1912) degrees from Columbia University. He graduated from the *Jewish Theological Seminary in 1914, when such ordination did not necessarily mark one as a Conservative rabbi and was also ordained by Rabbi Shalom Jaffe, vice president of the *Union of Orthodox Rabbis. While still a seminary student, he assisted Rabbi Moses Z. Margolies at the prestigious Kehilath Jeshurun Congregation in New York on the Upper East Side where he succeeded Mordecai *Kaplan. Like Kaplan, he believed that an English-speaking, secularly educated rabbinate was essential to the survival of Judaism and that the synagogue must remain the center of Jewish life. Unlike Kaplan, who moved to the left, Goldstein remained firmly within the Orthodox camp. After graduation, he pioneered a new synagogue in Harlem, which was then populated by first-generation Jewish immigrants. To attract their American-born children, Goldstein organized a youth minyan and gradually evolved the congregation into a new form: an institutional synagogue which comprised social, educational, and sports activities in addition to religious services. After Harlem became a totally black neighborhood in the 1930s, he transferred his activities to the West Side (1937), where he had previously established a branch known as the West Side Institutional Synagogue. It was a combination of a synagogue, talmud torah, and ymha. Although a Seminary graduate, Goldstein also served as professor of homiletics at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of *Yeshiva University, and was president of the *Synagogue Council of America, *Rabbinical Council of America, and the *Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. He was also active in the *Agudat Israel movement, and continually visited Eretz Israel to aid the activities of the Harry Fischel Institute for Research in Jewish Law and the Rabbi Herzog World Academy of Jewish Studies. Both these projects were supported by the philanthropic foundation established by his father-in-law, Harry *Fischel. He also wrote several books, including a commentary to the 613 commandments, and edited his father-in-law's autobiography. Despite the fact that he was a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Goldstein was a strictly Orthodox rabbi, belonging to the right wing of the English-speaking Orthodox rabbinate, and in this respect was unique.

add. bibliography:

J. Gurrock, When Harlem Was Jewish (1979); M.D. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Bibliographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996), 79–81.