Manis Friedman (full name: Menachem Manis HaKohen Friedman; Hebrew: מנחם מניס הכהן פרידמן; born 1946) is a Hassid, rabbi, author, social philosopher and public speaker. He is also the dean of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies. Friedman authored Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?, which was published in 1990 and is currently in its fourth printing. He is featured in the documentary films: The Lost Key (2014), The Jewish Journey: America (2015), and "Patterns of Evidences" (2017).


Manis Friedman
Rabbi Manis Friedman
Menachem Manis HaKohen Friedman

(1946-02-14) February 14, 1946 (age 78)
Occupation(s)Chabad Shaliach
Dean of Bais Chana Women International
Known forDoesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?
"YouTube's Most Popular Rabbi"
Children14, including Benny Friedman

Biography edit

Early life edit

Friedman was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1946 to a Hasidic Ashkenazi Jewish family of Kohanim. His father, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Friedman, was a son of Rabbi Meir Yisroel Isser Friedman, the Krenitzer Rov. Yaakov Moshe Friedman was later arrested and tortured by the Soviet Czechoslovakian authorities due to his work with the Vaad Hatzalah, rescuing Jewish children from the Soviet Union.[1] His mother was Miriam Friedman, a descendant of the Baal Shem Tov.[2] In 1950, he moved with his family to the United States. He received his rabbinic ordination at the Rabbinical College of Canada[3] in 1969.[4]

Career edit

In 1971, inspired by the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Friedman as a shliach ("emissary") cofounded the Bais Chana Women International, an Institute for Jewish Studies in Minnesota for women with little or no formal Jewish education.[5] He has served as the school's dean since its inception. From 1984 to 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.[6]

In 1990, HarperCollins published Friedman's first book, Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?, which included a blurb from Bob Dylan. He has since published numerous other books, including The Joy of Intimacy, לא בקשתי לבא לעולם (lit. "I didn't ask to come to the world") in Hebrew, and Creating a Life That Matters, which he co-wrote.[7] He has also authored numerous educational books for children, including Who Needs Me? and A to Z Meant to Be: Seeing the Hand of the Creator in Everything That Happens.[8]

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 a written response to a question regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Friedman implied that Israel should "kill men, women, and children". He later clarified that this was meant only in the case where they were using "men, women, and children" as weapons of war.[9][10]

Friedman is the most popular rabbi on YouTube,[11] with over 450,000 subscribers as of February 2024.[12]

Family edit

Manis Friedman is a Kohen.[13] He is the brother of the Jewish singer Avraham Fried[14] and father of Jewish singer Benny Friedman. Many of his 14 children serve as Chabad Shluchim.

Views 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.

On victims of pedophilia edit

Friedman was quoted 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.[15][16][17][18] Friedman subsequently issued an apology for the offensive remarks.[19][20]

On victims of the Holocaust edit

According to the Australian Jewish News, 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.[21]

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. Friedman 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.[22]

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."[23]

Femininity edit

Sociologist Lynn Davidman interviewed a number of students studying under Friedman in 1983. She quotes Friedman saying 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, in a perfect world, girls getting married as young as fourteen would be optimal, though that's obviously not realistic in today's society. According to Davidman, Friedman's position on femininity differed entirely from the values of his students.[24]

Published works edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Fried, Avraham (1 April 2004). "Rabbi Yakov Moshe Friedman (1924-2004)".
  2. ^ Posner, Menachem (14 June 2017). "Chassidic Matriarch Miriam Friedman, 101, Helped Holocaust Survivors Flee to West".
  3. ^ Dalrymple, Rachel. "Rabbi Manis Friedman". Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  4. ^ "The Jew Project: Rabbi Manis Friedman, #1 Most Popular Rabbinical Lecturer on the Internet". - Chabad News, Crown Heights News, Lubavitch News. 2022-06-28. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  5. ^ Bais Chana. 2005-2010. ""Bais Chana International, Extraordinary Jewish Learning - About Us". Archived from the original on 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  6. ^ "Jewish Educational Media [BETA]". Jewish Educational Media [BETA].
  7. ^ "Mother's 'Life Manual' for Baby Becomes Bestseller". COLlive. 2021-10-15. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  8. ^ "New Children's Book Was Inspired by a Single Comment". COLlive. 2022-08-23. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  9. ^ Moment (2013-02-06). "Ask the Rabbis // How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?". Moment Magazine. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  10. ^ maxinesp (2009-06-03). "A Statement from Rabbi Friedman". Moment Magazine. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  11. ^ "Meaningful People: Rabbi Manis Friedman". 2021.
  12. ^ "Rabbi Manis Friedman - YouTube". Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  13. ^ "Find-A-Kohen Listing". 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  14. ^ IPC Media. 1996-2010. ""Avraham Fried Biography". NME. Archived from the original on July 2, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  15. ^ "Call for apology as Rabbi Manis Friedman likens child abuse to diarrhoea | The Australian".
  16. ^ "Rabbi Manis Friedman | Sex Abuse | SBS World News". Archived from the original on 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  17. ^ "Shock at Rabbi trivialising child sexual molestation". February 1, 2013.
  18. ^ "Chabad rabbi sorry for 'inappropriate' remark on molestation". JTA. February 1, 2013.
  19. ^ Chabad Rabbi Apologizes for Insulting Comments on Child Molestation Haaretz February 4, 2013.
  20. ^ "Rabbi Manis Friedman, who downplayed damage caused by sexual abuse, apologizes [VIDEO]". Jewish Journal. January 31, 2013.
  21. ^ Jacks, Timna. "Survivors' outrage over US rabbi".
  22. ^ Lyman, Bari. Meet to Marry: A Dating Revelation for the Marriage-Minded Archived 2014-05-23 at the Wayback Machine. Health Communications, Inc. 2011. Accessed May 23, 2014.
  23. ^ Fishman, Sylvia Barack. A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community Archived 2014-05-23 at the Wayback Machine. UPNE. 1995. Accessed May 23, 2014.
  24. ^ Davidman, Lynn (1993). Tradition in a Rootless World. San Francisco, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07545-5.: 162–166 

External links edit