Solomon Schechter

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Solomon Schechter ( Hebrew שניאור זלמן שכטר, also: Salomon Schechter , born December 7, 1847 in Focșani ; died November 20, 1915 in New York ) was a Romanian-American rabbi, scholar, and Jewish educator, father of Conservative Judaism , founder and president of the United Synagogue of America, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and an early advocate of the Zionism .

Live and act

Born in Focșani (German: Fokschan) in the Principality of Moldova as one of six children in a Hasidic Chabad family in Romania, he visited Yeshivot in Eastern Europe. He received his early education and training from his father, who was the only shochet (Jewish butcher) in town. The name is derived from there: Schechter = Schochet in Hebrew and Yiddish .

Schechter was gifted, learned to read Hebrew at the age of three and had extensive knowledge of Chumash (Torah) by the age of five . At the age of ten he went to a yeshiva in Piatra, at thirteen he studied with one of the greatest Talmudic authorities, Rabbi Joseph Saul Nathanson of Lemberg. In Vienna he studied Jewish subjects in Bet Midrash (here appointment as rabbi) and philosophy at the university. In 1879 he went to the Berlin University for the Science of Judaism , but also studied at the Berlin University .

A few years later he was invited to London by Claude Montefiore to teach rabbinical subjects. In 1887 he married Mathilde Roth, whom he had met at the British Museum, where he gave his lessons, among other things. In the same year he published Avot de-Rabbi Nathan . In 1890, after the death of Solomon Marcus Schiller-Szinessy , he taught at Cambridge University . His great academic fame goes back to his discovery, his efforts around and the six years of publication of the documents found in the Cairo Geniza (Genisa zu Fostat); it is a collection of over 100,000 rare Hebrew manuscripts and medieval Jewish texts. The find revolutionized the knowledge and study of medieval Judaism. Without Schechter's continued efforts to obtain these texts, many important documents would likely have been lost forever.

In 1899 Schechter became a Hebrew professor at the University of London . From 1902 to 1915 he was president of the JTS - Jewish Theological Seminary in America, the home of conservative Judaism. During this time he founded the United Synagogue of America , later the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism , to which over 800 congregations belong in America alone. He was also a great supporter of Zionism and made significant contributions.

Solomon Schechter died in New York in 1915 at the age of 68. Thanks to his work, the JTS was able to establish itself and the day school system of conservative Judaism experienced significant growth. A large number of conservative Jewish Day Schools in America and Canada are named in his honor. In addition to many other writings, Schechter also wrote editions of the Midrash ha-gadol on Genesis , the newly found Hebrew Sirach and the Damascus script .


Web links

Commons : Solomon Schechter  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Biography of Solomon Schechter, on the website of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America ( Memento of the original from March 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. English @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /