Manis Friedman

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Manis Friedman (2009)

Manis Friedman (full name: Menachem Manis HaKohen Friedman; born 1946) is a Chabad Lubavitch Hassid. He is a Shliach, rabbi, author, social philosopher and public speaker. Friedman is also the dean of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1946, Friedman immigrated with his family to the United States in 1951. He received his rabbinic ordination at the Rabbinical College of Canada in 1969. Friedman's first book, Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?, was published in 1990. It is currently in its fourth printing.

Manis Friedman's brother is the Jewish singer Avraham Fried.[1]


In 1971, inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Friedman cofounded the Bais Chana Women International, an Institute for Jewish Studies in Minnesota for women with little or no formal Jewish education.[2] He has served as the school's dean since its inception.

From 1984-1990, he served as the simultaneous translator for a series of televised talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Friedman briefly served as senior translator for Jewish Educational Media, Inc.[3]

Friedman has lectured in cities throughout the US, as well as London, Hong Kong, Cape Town, and Johannesburg in South Africa, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and a number of South and Central American cities.[citation needed]

In the wake of the natural disasters in 2004 and 2005, Friedman authored a practical guide to help rescue and relief workers properly understand and deal with the needs of Jewish survivors.[citation needed]


Though not extensively published in book form, Friedman's teachings have been cited by many authors writing on various secular issues as well as on exclusively Jewish topics.

Friedman has been quoted in:

  • Shmuley Boteach, The Private Adam (2005) and Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments (2001)
  • Barbara Becker Holstein, Enchanted Self: A Positive Therapy (1997)
  • Angela Payne, Living Every Single Moment: Embrace Your Purpose Now (2004)
  • Sylvia Barack Fishman, A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community (1995)

In their autobiographies, Playing with Fire: One Woman's Remarkable Odyssey by Tova Mordechai (1991) and Shanda: The Making and Breaking of a Self-Loathing Jew by Neal Karlen (2004), the authors ascribe Friedman a role in their increasing religiosity.

Views on love, marriage and femininity[edit]

According to anthropologist Lynn Davidman, Friedman, like many evangelical Christians, stesses the primacy of commitment over emotion in relationships.[4] Davidman quotes Friedman saying that "for a woman to wait to have children is wrong because she is violating herself" and that "birth control is a violent violation of a woman's being"[4]:166. Friedman believes that single men and women are incomplete, and that girls should optimally get married at the age of fourteen[4]:162.

Controversial comments[edit]

Friedman has claimed that the IDF should kill Palestinian men, women and children, and destroy their holy sites;[5] that survivors of child sexual abuse are not deeply damaged and should just get over it, because neglecting to say the Bracha of Al-Hamikhya is worse than being molested;[6][7][8][9] and that not a single Jewish child died in the Holocaust because of the Nazis.[10]

Friedman's comments on sexual abuse [11] led to controversy within the Jewish community. His comments were widely published on a variety of social media websites.[11][12][13] Manis was subsequently criticised by a variety of outlets and individuals.[14] Multiple groups called for Friedman to apologize for his remarks.[15][16] Orthodox Deputy District Attorney Benny Forer condemned the statements by detailing Halachic and Torah perspective on sexual deviance.[17][18] DDA Forer wrote that "The myopic and ridiculous view that you have perpetrated, along with many Rabbonim, needs to be corrected and fixed. It needs to be acknowledged by Jewish leaders in a profound way – one that does more than merely pay lip-service to the issue. You need to express true teshuva in a constructive and helpful way that will assist future victims and condemn future predators. At this point, public condemnation of molesters, in general, is simply insufficient; more must be done." Rabbi Gutnick, president of the Organization of Rabbis of Australasia, issued a statement condemning the comments, saying the clip “appears to theologically trivialize and minimize the physical psychological and spiritual damage caused to the victims of sexual abuse.” [19]

Subsequently, Friedman issued a short apology on the matter.[20]

Published works[edit]

  • Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? Reclaiming Modesty, Intimacy and Sexuality.
  • The Relief and Rescue Workers Guide to Judaism - a Rescue Workers Handbook.


  1. ^ IPC Media. 1996-2010. "[dead link]
  2. ^ Bais Chana. 2005-2010. "
  3. ^ Vintage Satellite Footage
  4. ^ a b c Davidman, Lynn (1993). Tradition in a Rootless World. San Francisco, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07545-5. :163–164
  5. ^ Chabad rabbi: Jews should kill Arab men, women and children during war - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
  6. ^ Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
  7. ^ Rabbi Manis Friedman | Sex Abuse | SBS World News
  8. ^ AM - Shock at Rabbi trivializing child sexual molestation 01/02/2013
  9. ^ Chabad rabbi sorry for ‘inappropriate’ remark on molestation | JTA - Jewish & Israel News
  10. ^ Survivors’ outrage over US rabbi | The Australian Jewish News
  11. ^ a b
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