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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives



DATES:                     JUNE 27, 1991

                               JULY 3, 1991

                               JULY 11, 1991


SPONSORED BY:     Taylor Family Fund

CITATION:                Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, June 27, Jul3 and 11, 1991, p. xx from the Herbert and Esther Taylor Oral History Collection, Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at the Breman Museum, Atlanta, Georgia.

Transcript (PDF)


Emanuel Feldman was born in 1927 to a long line of rabbis.  He was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and studied at Yeshiva Ner Yisroel, where he received his rabbinical ordination in 1952.  He earned his BA and MA degrees from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in Religion from Emory University.

In 1952 Rabbi Feldman married Estelle Samber.  The couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Rabbi Feldman assumed his position as rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob.  At the time he assumed the pulpit, Congregation Beth Jacob was a small Orthodox congregation, with a membership of approximately forty families.  During his thirty-nine years on the pulpit, Rabbi Feldman was instrumental in the congregation’s growth to a membership of 500 families, the building of its new home in Northeast Atlanta, and the development of the Hebrew Academy of Atlanta.  He was firm in his strict adherence to Orthodox principles for his shul, and spoke out concerning issues of conversion, inter-marriage, and kashrut.  Rabbi Feldman retired from Congregation Beth Jacob in 1991, and his pulpit was assumed by his son, Rabbi Ilan Feldman.

Rabbi Emanuel Feldman’s interests include tennis, baseball, teaching, and writing.  He is the author of hundreds of articles and numerous books. He served as editor-in-chief of Tradition: The Jewish Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought from 1988-2001.  After his retirement, Rabbi Feldman and his wife moved to Jerusalem where he remained an active spokesman for Orthodox Jewry.


Rabbi Feldman discusses his family and their strong religious roots.  He remembers his upbringing in Baltimore, and his education in both religious and secular schools. Rabbi Feldman recounts his move to Atlanta to assume the pulpit of the Orthodox Congregation Beth Jacob.  He speaks of the growth of this congregation and the Orthodox community in Northeast Atlanta.  Rabbi Feldman provides details about his strong Orthodox beliefs, including his feelings about conversion, inter-marriage, mechitza, and kashrut. He explains how at times these feelings caused some controversy within the Orthodox community.  Rabbi Feldman talks about his interests in teaching and writing, and mentions some of the articles and books he has authored or edited.    He describes his relationships with other rabbis in the Atlanta community and touches on his plans following retirement. 

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