Manis Friedman

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Manis Friedman
RMF1.jpg
Rabbi Manis Friedman in 2009
Born Menachem Manis HaKohen Friedman
1946
Czechoslovakia
Occupation Rabbi, Dean of Bais Chana Women International
Known for Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?
Religion Judaism

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. Friedman is the author of Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?, published in 1990, currently in its fourth printing.

Biography[edit]

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.

Activities[edit]

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.[1] 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.[2]

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]

Family[edit]

Manis Friedman's brother is the Jewish singer Avraham Fried.[3]

Teachings[edit]

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]

Two types of love[edit]

According to Friedman, the love between spouses must overcome the differences between the two parties, generating greater intensity in the relationship. By contrast the love between other family members are predicated upon the commonness the two parties share. Freidman further states that husband and wife, male and female, in essence always remain strangers; for this reason the acquired love in the relationship is never entirely consistent.[4]

Fidelity[edit]

On fidelity in marriage, Friedman is quoted stating "If you help yourself to the benefits of being married when you are single, you're likely to help yourself to the benefits of being single when you're married."[5]

Anthropologist Lynn Davidman[edit]

Anthropologist Lynn Davidman interviewed a number of students studying under Friedman in the 1980s. In Davidman's account, Friedman's position on femininity differed entirely from the values of his students, with Friedman of the opinion that men and women are fundamentally different. Davidman quotes Friedman saying and that a woman "violates herself" if she were to refrain from having children and that birth control is a "violent violation of a woman's being." Friedman insisted that the teenage angst experienced by girls stems from the fact that they are already biologically and psychologically ready for marriage but their urges are held back; he believes that girls should optimally get married at the age of fourteen. In her book, Davidman found Friedman's views similar to those of an evangelical preacher who stressed the primacy of commitment over emotion in relationships.[6]

Controversial comments[edit]

On the Israeli-Arab conflict[edit]

Friedman has claimed that the moral way to fight a war is to "Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)," and that if Israel followed this wisdom from the bible, there would be "no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war." After receiving criticism Friedman clarified that "any neighbor of the Jewish people should be treated, as the Torah commands us, with respect and compassion." Friedman later clarified that when he was quoting from the Torah he was not advocating to actually kill anyone, rather if Israel would threaten to do this things - it would scare its enemies and prevent war.[7]

On victims of pedophilia[edit]

Friedman was quoted that that survivors of child sexual abuse are not as deeply damaged as some claim and should learn to overcome their traumatic experiences. Friedman's comments were received poorly by advocates who saw his statements as trivialising the experiences of the victims.[8][9][10][11] Rabbi Friedman subsequently issued an apology for the offensive remarks.[12][13]

On victims of the holocaust[edit]

According to the Australian Jewish News, Rabbi Friedman, in a speech in the 1980s, framed the holocaust as part of a divine plan. Friedman reportedly stated “Who in fact died and who remained alive had nothing to do with the Nazis,” and “not a single Jewish child died because of the Nazis … they died in their relationship with God.” According to the paper, Friedman's statements were not well received by local holocaust survivors.[14]

Published works[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]