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Solomon Freehof

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Subject: Walter Jacob, Posek, Jewish beliefs and practices in the reform movement, World Union for Progressive Judaism, Lily Montagu
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Solomon Freehof

Solomon Bennett Freehof (August 8, 1892 – 1990) was a prominent [1]

Personal life

Freehof was born in London, moved to the U.S. in 1903, received a degree from the University of Cincinnati (1914) and ordained from Hebrew Union College (1915). He was a World War I army chaplain, a liturgy professor at HUC, and a rabbi at Chicago's Congregation Kehillath Anshe Maarav before moving to Pittsburgh.[2] He retired in 1966. He is descended from the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Lubavitcher Hasidism.[3]

He studied halakhah with various Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Wolf Leiter of Pittsburgh[4] and Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda (Leopold) Greenwald.[5]

Lillian (née Simon) Freehof, his wife, wrote plays, novels and children's books. They married in 1934.

Freehof was followed at Rodef Shalom, and in work on Reform responsa, by his protégé, Rabbi Dr. Walter Jacob, who later established the Freehof Institute of Progressive Halakhah.



  • Cohn-Sherbok, Dan “Law in Reform Judaism : a study of Solomon Freehof” in Jewish Law Annual
  • Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol.7 p. 121
  • Friedman, Rabbi Dr. Joan. Solomon B. Freehof, the 'Reform Responsa', and the Shaping of American Reform Judaism doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 2003
  • ___________. "The writing of 'Reform Jewish Practice and Its Rabbinic Background'" in CCAR Journal 51,
  • ___________. "A critique of Solomon B. Freehof’s concept of "minhag" and Reform Jewish practice" in Re-Examining Progressive Halakhah
  • Inventory of the Freehof papers, including a biography [1]
  • Jacob,Walter et al., Eds. Essays in Honor of Solomon B. Freehof 1964 (A collection of 19 essays about Freehof, including a bibliography.)
  • Weiss, Kenneth J. “Freehof’s methodology as a Reform Jewish halachist” in Journal of Reform Judaism 32,

Selected works

  • Contemporary Reform Responsa, 1974.
  • Current Reform Responsa, 1969.
  • Modern Reform Responsa, 1971.
  • New Reform Responsa, 1980.
  • Reform Responsa, 1960.
  • Recent Reform Responsa, 1963.
  • Reform Responsa for our Time, 1977.
  • The Responsa Literature Hebrew Union College Press, 1955
  • Today's Reform Responsa, 1990.
  • "The Natural Law in the Jewish Tradition", University of Notre Dame Natural Law Institute Proceedings, v.15, p. 15
  • Commentaries on Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, Psalms, e.g., Book of Job, A Commentary. UAHC, 1958
  • Preaching the Bible: Sermons for Sabbaths and high holy days , 1974
  • Reform Jewish practice and its rabbinic background, 1952
  • The small sanctuary: Judaism in the prayerbook, 1942
  • Stormers of heaven, 1931


  1. ^ a b Rodef Shalom Congregation, Pittsburgh, PA - More information
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol.7 p. 121
  3. ^ Solomon B. Freehof Papers
  4. ^ The Responsa Literature (Hebrew Union College Press, 1955) p.7
  5. ^ AJHistory by Menachem Butler: About Solomon B. Freehof


  • Solomon B. Freehof Institute of Progressive Jewish Law
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