Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman - Champion of Jewish Education, Values, and Peoplehood

Herbert Aaronson Friedman (1918-2008) was a prominent rabbi, Zionist, philanthropist, educator, and communal leader. As the chief executive of the United Jewish Appeal (a forerunner of the contemporary United Jewish Communities) in the 1950s and 1960s, Friedman implemented fundraising strategies that raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Israel and also became foundational principles of modern American Jewish philanthropy. As a co-founder in 1985 (with Leslie Wexner) of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, Rabbi Friedman expanded his work to include education and training of Jewish leaders. The Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman Collection, donated to the American Jewish Archives by Rabbi Friedman in 2006, consists of a rich and deep source of documents, audio, and video recordings that reveal a multi-faceted career devoted to justice and the preservation of Jewish life.

Using this Collection:

Biographical Sketch

Herbert A. Friedman recalled in his 1998 autobiography, "I smuggled weapons to Palestine, before Israel was born, thus breaking U.S. arms-embargo laws; led convoys of refugees across hostile European borders to freedom; 'liberated' crates of medieval religious documents from U.S. Army custody in Germany and transferred them to a professor in Jerusalem; and committed similar, illegal or borderline-legal acts long forgotten." As he admitted, "those are... rather startling admissions for a rabbi." But such was his commitment to the welfare and security of the yet constituted state of Israel and Jewish peoples throughout the Diaspora. Read More...