Feinberg, Abraham

Abraham Feinberg, né Nisselevicz, rabbi, singer, peace activist (b at Bellaire, Ohio 14 Sept 1899; d at Reno, Nevada 5 Oct 1986). Raised and educated in the United States, he held rabbinical pulpits there in the 1920s. He left the rabbinate in 1930, and after changing his name to Anthony Frome embarked on a new career as a singer. With his own radio show in New York from 1932-35, he became known as the "Poet Prince of the Air Waves." Alarmed by the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, Feinberg became a rabbi again. In 1943 he came to Toronto as rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple, Canada's largest Reform Jewish congregation.

During his tenure at Holy Blossom from 1943-61, he earned a worldwide reputation for his championship of the downtrodden, his embrace of radical causes, and his efforts to remove the barriers between Jews and non-Jews. Dedicated to world peace and social justice, he protested against the Vietnam War. Perhaps his greatest moment as a peace activist was his 1967 visit to Vietnam when he met with Ho Chi Minh. In the 1970s, Feinberg moved back to the US, where he became rabbi-in-residence at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. He was the author of 3 books, Storm the Gates of Jericho (1964), Hanoi Diary (1968) and Sex and the Pulpit (1981), and wrote for Saturday Night, Maclean's, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.