Identifer: CJF R 0112
Miscellaneous Cincinnati Rabbis; Beth Tefillah Synagogue (aka Shachne Isaacs Synagogue or Shul)
Cincinnati Judaica Fund Research Collection
Rabbi Shimon Isaac Finkelstein, full name R. Simon Isaac b. Yehudah Zvi Ha'Levi Finkelstein (1861-1947). Son of Judah Tzvi (Zvi) Finkelstein and Feyge Rive Finkelstein. Husband of Hannah Basha Finkelstein (Born 1858 in Kaunas, Lithuania; died 1922 in New York City).
He was born in Vilyampolskaya Slobodka and education in the yeshivot of Kovno and Slobodka emigrated to the U.S. in 1886 or 87. He held the rabbinical position in several American communities. In 1889 he served in Baltimore, followed by a short stay in Cincinnati (including in 1895. While in Cincinnati, he was offered at faculty position at the Reform seminary there, Hebrew Union College), in 1899 he was in Syracuse NY, by 1924 he had settled in Brownsville (Brooklyn, NY) where he lived until his death. His children include a son Louis Finkelstein who was the head of the Conservative Movement and Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Additional children include Jonathan Finn; Maurice Finkelstein; Herman N Finkelstein; Ruth Greenberg and 3 others
R. Finkelstein possessed a fine ability in Hebrew writing and was renowned for his ability in delivering eloquent homilies. His published works attest to his erudite scholarship including:
*Seder Tefillah ‘im Perush Siah Yizhaq.
* Reshit Bikuri (when he was in Baltimore - Publisher H. Itzkowski), a novellae on several tractates of the Gemara.
* BIKURE `ANAVIM : BEURIM `AL MAAMAR RABAH BAR BAR HANA, VIKUHE SAVE DE-VE ATUNA `IM RAIBAH.MAAMARIM BE-SHEM PIRKE HA-GAFEN. Chicago; Eliezer Meites, 1899. Finkelstein delivered these sermons, based on the teachings of the tannaim Rabbah bar Hanah and Joshua b. Hananiah, during his years as a pulpit rabbi. … In this volume he presents the early impressions which were made upon him by the American Jewish scene. “The Talmud relates a legendary disputation of the ‘wise men of Athens’ and the Jewish sage Joshua b. Hananiah. One of various works which attempt to explicate the riddles contained in the talmudic account, the book by Rev. Finkelstein was among the first rabbinic works published in America. The approbation of the Lithuanian rabbinic authority, Isaac Elhanan Spektor, prefaces the book.”
* Bet Yitzchak (St. Louis 1924);
* Ein Simon (New York 1935).