Article Regarding Harav Shimon Finkelstein

Remembering the Righteous
By Yosef Gesser
Harav Shimon Finkelstein, zt“I
Shimon Yitzchak ben Yehudah Tzvi HaLevi
26 Nissan 5707/April 16, 1947
Rav Finkelstein was born in 1861. His father was Harav Yehuda Tzvi HaLevi of Slabodka. Blessed with a keen mind, Reb Shimon learned in the yehivos of Kovno and Slabodka until the age of 16, after which he learned on his own. By the age of 19 he was expert in the first half of Shas and was known as the Iluy of Slabodka. When maskilim tried to influence him with anti-Torah attitudes, he went to Rumsheshok, where he studied under the tutelage of Reb Yosef Yozel Horowitz, the Alter of Novardok.
In 1882 he married his Rebbetzin, the former Chana Brager, to whom he was married for 42 years. Among the Rabbanim from whom he received semichah were Harav Yehudah Meshil, Rav of Aleksat, and Harav Tizchak Elchanan Spektor of Kovno. He learned in the famed Perushim Kollel of Harav Yitzchak Blazer.
Rav Finkelstein arrived in the United States in 1886. Among the kehillos he served were Congregation Bikur Cholim in Baltimore; Beth Tefillah in Cincinnati; and Poele Zedek in Syracuse, New York. In the latter he provided hashgachah for the shochtim and butchers in the community and combated efforts by some Yidden to open a synagogue with mixed seating.
He also served as Rav in Brownsville, Brooklyn, at Kehillas Ohave Shalom.
Rab Finkelstein’s sefarim include Ayin Shimon, Reishis Bikkurei, Bikkurei Anavim, Pirchai Hagefen and Beis Yitzchak. 

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).

Related Objects
Time Magazine: 1951 Article about Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, "The Days of Fear are Over"  Pinkas Hazahav (The Golden Ledger) of Cincinnati’s Orthodox Community

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