Daniel Friedman

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Daniel Friedman

Daniel Friedman, a native of Denver, received his BA degree at Brandeis University in 1957.  Following his ordination at the Hebrew Union College in 1962, he served for three years as Rabbi Jacob Weinstein’s assistant at KAM Temple in Chicago.  After that apprenticeship, he became the spiritual leader of a young congregation in suburban Chicago, Congregation Beth Or, in Deerfield, Illinois, where he remained for thirty-five years.


Beginning in 1969, he participated in the development of Humanistic Judaism and contributed many essays and articles on its philosophy for the quarterly journal Humanistic Judaism, on whose editorial board he served for many years.  Humanistic Judaism views the Jewish people as the result of purely natural historical forces, rather than as the product of a divine plan; and Judaism as the entirely human creation of an interpretation of the meaning of Jewish experience, rather than as a revealed body of sacred doctrine and wisdom.


After several years under Dan’s leadership, Congregation Beth Or declared itself officially a humanistic congregation.  Upon his retirement, in 2000, Dan became rabbinic advisor of a new humanistic congregation, Kol Hadash, in neighboring Highland Park, which he served for three years until it was to engage a full-time leader.


During his retirement, Dan picked up his trumpet after a hiatus of forty years, and has played in numerous jazz, swing and klezmer bands in the Chicago area and in Naples, Florida, where he and Felice have spent many winters.


Dan and Felice are the proud parents of Jeffrey, who was born while Dad was a student at HUC-JIR and is the founding editor of the political science journal, Critical Review; and Mark, who is a children’s book editor and publisher.


Dan’s book, Jew’s Without Judaism: Conversations with an Unconventional Rabbi, was published by Prometheus Press in 2002.