Schechter, Solomon (Schneur Zalman)

(1847–1915)
   Scholar and founder of Conservative Judaism. The first part of Schechter’s life was spent in his native Romania and on his studies in Vienna and Berlin. In 1882 he was invited to England, where he remained twenty years. He lectured in talmudics and rabbinics at Cambridge University and later held the chair of Hebrew at University College, London. He became famous for editing and publishing the mass of documents and fragments he recovered from the Cairo Genizah. From 1902 to his death, Schechter was president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, in New York. He attracted to its faculty a group of eminent scholars, and raised the prestige of the institution as a centre of Jewish learning. During this period Schechter developed Conservative Judaism as a middle way between the Orthodox and the Reform trends. It was based on tradition but held that it should be adapted to the changing needs of the living community - what he called ‘Catholic Israel’. In 1913 he established the United Synagogue of America, as the common framework for Conservative congregations. Schechter’s best-known works are his three-volume Studies in Judaism (1896– 1924) and Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (1909).

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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