web analytics
December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Rabbi Joseph Friedenson, Yiddish Journal Editor, Dies At 93

Joseph (Yossel) Friedenson

Joseph (Yossel) Friedenson

Joseph (Yossel) Friedenson carried the title of “rabbi,” but his “pulpit” was far wider than any within four walls.

Rabbi Friedenson, longtime editor of the monthly Yiddish-language Dos Yiddishe Vort (“The Jewish Word”) journal published by Agudath Israel of America, died Feb. 23 in New York at the age of 93.

For close to 60 years, his writing gave voice to the thinking and concerns of the post-Holocaust Eastern European Orthodox Jewish community. He was married to his wife Gitele, who died in 2006, for 64 years. They were married in November 1941 in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A survivor of six concentration camps during the Holocaust, Friedenson was finally liberated from Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945. He was not a proponent of “Holocaust remembrance” memorials or museums. Writing in the Jewish World Review in August 1998, he complained that remembering has become “the new Jewish religion.”

At the age of 90, the dedicated editor was still reading seven-point type and still devoted to his, albeit dwindling, audience. He remained an active voice for Torah-observant Jewry until his last days.

In August 2012, writing for Agudath Israel of America, Friedenson discussed the celebration of the 12th Siyum HaShas, the completion of the cycle of the Talmud, as “a day of great victory…a day that testifies loudly and clearly that we Jews are an eternal people, indestructible and everlasting…. The day of the Siyum HaShas is my day of victory, the day of victory for all survivors and the day of victory of every ‘Talmud Jew.’”

Jeanette Friedman, author, advocate and one of the founders of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, recalled Friedenson as “a brilliant man, entirely dedicated.”

“He loved his job so much that he worked at it until he could not work anymore,” she told JNS.org. “Even after a stroke, he was still editing the paper.”

Together with Volvie Friedman (Jeanette’s father) and Rabbi Moshe Sherer, Friedenson was one of the founders of the postwar Agudath Israel movement. In addition to his position as editor of Dos Yiddishe Vort, he served as the movement’s secretary general.

Dos Yiddishe Vort, printed in black and white, is “dedicated to the problems of Torah Judaism…the mouthpiece for the dwindling Yiddish-speaking contingent” of the Agudath Israel movement. The journal began in the post-Holocaust displaced persons (DP) camps, and its first two issues were printed in transliteration in Latin letters because Yiddish type was not available.

“Friedenson was Dos Yiddish Vort,” said Friedman expressing fear that the magazine “dies with him.” Friedenson, she said, had not missed a deadline in 54 years.

“He was awesome, literally awesome,” Friedman said.

In 2007, Toby Appleton Perl, Friedenson’s niece, wrote in the Forward newspaper about her uncle’s continuity and diligence, noting that he “has been editing this Yiddish monthly almost single-handedly…since 1945, [counting] the first editions he put out in the Feldafing and Landesberg displaced persons camps in Germany.”

Securing kosher food, mikvehs (ritual baths) and religious schooling for Holocaust survivors and their children – basic necessities for maintaining an Orthodox Jewish life – were prime objectives of Agudath Israel in the post-Holocaust DP camps. Friedenson’s establishment of Dos Yiddish Vort in the camps served as an important tool to accomplish those aims. When Friedenson immigrated to the U.S. he continued to promote the objectives and goals of the Agudath Israel movement, especially in its political-theological struggle with David Ben-Gurion’s secular government in Israel. That generation of Holocaust survivors, wrote Perl in the Forward, was “determined to regenerate ultra-Orthodoxy in the wake of the near-destruction of European Jewry.”

Friedenson re-established Dos Yiddishe Vort in the U.S. as a monthly publication. According to Perl, he read voraciously, including publications on many points of the political spectrum such as The New York Times, Israel’s Yediot Aharanot and Haaretz, and German editions of Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Algemeine and Die Zeit.

Friedenson once headed a writing staff that included Moshe Prager, David Adler, Moshe Yehuda Gleicher, Nissim Gordon, Rabbi Simcha Elberg, and Hillel Seidman – renowned Yiddish authors in the U.S. and in Israel. At its height during the 1970s and ’80s, Dos Yiddishe Vort had a readership of 7,000-8,000. Even as its readership aged, the paper remained an influential voice: Friedenson supported the development of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, believing that the Sephardic community voice needed to be independently heard.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rabbi Joseph Friedenson, Yiddish Journal Editor, Dies At 93”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yaron Sidman, (center) Israel's Consul General for Philadelphia and the 5 state surrounding area, spoke to a hundreds strong crowd at Adath Israel in Suburban Philadelphia, Dec. 17, 2014. State Senator Anthony Williams (left, rear), waiting to speak.
Philly Ties Har Nof Victims’ Shloshim to Hanukkah Theme of Rededication
Latest News Stories
The terrorists who firfebombed a public bus in 1988 mixed glue with the gasoline to make sure the victims would suffer maximum pain

Three Arab wannabe teen terrorists are arrested in a firebombing attack on Border Guard police officers near Jerusalem.

The Mamilla shopping mall in Jerusalem at evening time.

An “out of control” sanitation truck in Glasgow struck a crowd of shoppers Monday and ended their holiday preparations.

A third assault in France in which assailant yelled "Allahu Akbar" before attacking others.

Driver shouting “Allahu Akbar” plows into pedestrian in third such attack in France in 3 days

The Israeli government has officially denied Arab media reports that an Israeli drone was shot down by the Syrian Army near Quneitra this weekend.

The oldest continuously running social welfare organization in Israel, Colel Chabad, is hosting its annual retreat for 260 orphans and widows this Channukah.

A family pose for a picture in front of a giant illuminated Chanukiah in the Port of Tel Aviv on December 21, 2014.

The results of the poll may cause people to start changing their minds.

The Palestinian Authority is a serial murderer – first the “peace process” and now Israeli soldiers.

He had posted on Facebook, “Strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies.” It’s part of a quote from the Qur’an.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was critically wounded in an assassination attempt several weeks ago, announced he is running “symbolically” on the Likud list for the elections to the Knesset. He is in 33rd place, and he will not be elected unless the party performs a miracle no less than his recovery and wins 33 seats. […]

“Both sides shall respect and protect the listed below religious rights of Jews, Christians, Moslems and Samaritans.” – Oslo Accords.

The annual Giant Chabad Menorah was lit without a ceremony this year in Martin Place, Sydney.

Egypt closed the crossing due the ongoing terror attacks against Egypt emanating from the Gaza Strip.

India may pull its vote in favor of the PA resolution before the UN Security Council and instead choosing abstention.

Arab media report Syria downed an Israeli drone over Quneitra, near the border between the two countries.

More Articles from Maxine Dovere
Israeli scientists are cultivated at young ages by Technoda. (Photo: Technoda)

On the one hand, Givat Olga is an underprivileged neighborhood in the Israeli city of Hadera with about 12,000 people, primarily immigrants from Ethiopia, North Africa and the former Soviet Union. On the other, the neighborhood is home to the breeding ground for Israel’s next generation of science pioneers.

Alice Walker

Police arrived when a confrontation between a screaming protester and a Walker supporter threatened to erupt into physical conflict.

Joseph (Yossel) Friedenson carried the title of “rabbi,” but his “pulpit” was far wider than any within four walls.

NEW YORK—Hurricane Sandy stormed into New York and New Jersey with unmitigated force, carrying death and destruction, disrupting lives, and devastating neighborhoods in America’s most densely populated regions – which happen to be home to some of the country’s largest Jewish populations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obituaries/rabbi-joseph-friedenson-yiddish-journal-editor-dies-at-93/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: