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Schulman, Samuel


SCHULMAN, SAMUEL (1864–1955), U.S. Reform rabbi. Schulman, born in Russia, was taken to the U.S. as a small child. By the age of 13 he had a significant knowledge of Hebrew and of the Talmud. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1885 and then went to the Berlin Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (1885–89), where he received his ordination. Returning to the U.S., he briefly served as rabbi in New York City and then in Helena, Montana, from 1890 to 1893 and in Kansas City from 1893 to 1899. In 1899 Schulman moved to Temple Beth El in New York City, remaining there until 1927 when it merged with New York's Temple Emanu-El, the wealthiest and most prestigious Reform congregation in the U.S. He retired in 1935. An eloquent orator, Schulman was also one of the most learned figures in Judaism in the U.S. Reform movement, on which he sought to exert a moderating influence. He was president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis from 1911 to 1913 and president of the Association of Reform Rabbis of New York from 1921 to 1926. He was president of the interdenominational Synagogue Council of America from 1934 to 1935 and director and vice president of the ymha Association of New York. In addition, he served as one of the non-Zionist members chosen to sit on the executive committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in 1929. His main activity outside the rabbinate, however, was devoted to the Jewish Publication Society of America; he was a member of its publishing committee for many years and took part in the society's retranslation of the Bible into English that commenced in 1903 and was concluded in 1917. He argued for the greater incorporation of Jewish ritual into Reform Judaism and was a moderating force at the Columbus Platform of 1937, that repudiated the earlier *Pittsburgh Platform.

[Hillel Halkin]

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