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Rabbi William Howard Fineshriber, Sr
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Birth: Feb. 21, 1878, Germany
Death: Jan., 1968
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Son of Hyman and Henrietta Braun Fineshriber. Husband of Mae Wallerstein Fineshriber. Father of Howard and William Jr.

In 1915 William Fineshriber took over religious leadership of Memphis's Children of Israel. Fineshriber was the congregation's first native-born rabbi and the first one to be ordained by Hebrew Union College. A very popular rabbi whose sermons covered a wide array of subjects, Fineshriber was not afraid to discuss the controversial issues of the day. When the debate over teaching evolution reached its peak in Tennessee in the 1920s, Fineshriber devoted three consecutive sermons to the subject, drawing large crowds. He also spoke out against racial violence and hatred. After a particularly brutal lynching in Memphis in 1917, Fineshriber convened a congregational meeting, and got the members to endorse a public condemnation of the attack, which ran in a local newspaper. From the pulpit, he denounced the Ku Klux Klan as a threat to American principles and more dangerous than "Bolshevism." Fineshriber's statements helped to encourage over civic leaders to oppose the Klan, which never took deep root in Memphis.

In 1924, Rabbi Fineshriber left Children of Israel for the bigger stage of Philadelphia's Keneseth-Israel. Among the many innovative influences he had on the congregation were the restoration of the position of cantor, the adoption of the use of the Union Prayer Book, the expansion of the religious school, the establishment of an emergency fund to help the needy during the Great Depression, and the re-establishment of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

On a national level, Dr. Fineshriber's services were in great demand as an arbitrator in labor strikes. He also was called upon to handle a crisis in the movie industry; he met with industry leaders and convinced them to adopt a code of morals, which would meet with the approval of the religious leaders of the country.

Sources: Virtual Archives Keneseth Israel's Senior Rabbis. The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life
Family links: 
  Henrietta Fineshriber (1852 - 1950)
  Mae Cecile Wallerstein Fineshriber (1883 - 1963)
  Bertha Fineshriber Tobias Kaser (1878 - 1968)*
  William Howard Fineshriber (1878 - 1968)
  Jacob Fineshriber (1884 - 1914)*
  Aaron Arthur Fineshriber (1890 - 1962)*
*Calculated relationship
Roosevelt Memorial Park
Bucks County
Pennsylvania, USA
Created by: H. A. Weinbaum III (Ale...
Record added: May 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51910781
Rabbi William Howard Fineshriber, Sr
Added by: H. A. Weinbaum III (Alex)
Rabbi William Howard Fineshriber, Sr
Added by: Steve Nagrem
Rabbi William Howard Fineshriber, Sr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Karen Valentine
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- Doll Harris-Hargrove
 Added: Aug. 1, 2010

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