Joan S. Friedman

Joan Friedman

Associate Professor - Middle Eastern & North African Studies [Program Chair], History, Religious Studies

Office: Kauke 006
Phone: 330-263-2448


  • B.A., Pennsylvania 1974
  • M.A.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 1977
  • M.Phil., Columbia 1986
  • Ph.D., Columbia 2003

Courses Taught

  • The Hebrew Bible
  • Judaism
  • Modern Hebrew I & II
  • History of the Jews
  • The Holocaust
  • Israel/Palestine: Histories in Conflict

Awards and Professional Memberships

  • 2013-2014 Bernard and Audrey Rapoport Fellowship, Jacob Marcus Center, American Jewish Archives
  • 2013 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, "Guidance, Not Governance": Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof and Reform Responsa
  • Luce Award (College of Wooster, F 2009)
  • Fellow, Center for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University (2001-02)
  • Dissertation fellowship -- Jewish Foundation for Education of Women Fellowship/National Foundation for Jewish Culture (2000-01)
  • Bernard and Audrey Rapoport Fellowship, Jacob Rader Marcus Center, American Jewish Archives (2000-01)
  • IREX Research Exchange Scholar, Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1988-89)
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association for Jewish Studies
  • Midwest Jewish Studies Association
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis, Board of Trustees, 2006-08; Responsa Committee, 1994-99; corresponding member 1999-current; Committe on Reform Jewish Practice, 1980-84
  • Women's Rabbinic Network, founding member; co-coordinator, 1991-3


  • "Guidance, Not Governance": Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof and Reform Responsa, published by Hebrew Union College Press, 2013
  • Assorted entries in Lindley, Susan Hill and Eleanor J. Stebner, eds., The Westminster Handbook to Women in American Religious History. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.
  • "The Making of a Reform Rabbi: Solomon B. Freehof from Childhood to HUC," American Jewish Archives Journal, 58/1-2 (2006): 1-49.
  • "The Writing of Reform Jewish Practice and Its Rabbinic Background," Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, 51/3 (Summer 2004): 31-71.
  • "A Critique of Solomon B. Freehof's Concept of Minhag and Reform Jewish Practice." In Re-examing Progressive Halakhah, Studies in Progressive Halakhah, ed. Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, 111-133. NY: Berghahn Books, 2002.
  • "A Judaism of Ongoing Search." In Jewish Spiritual Journeys: Essays in Honor of Eugene B. Borowitz on his 70th Birthday, ed. Lawrence A. Hoffman and Arnold Jacob Wolf. NY: Behrman House, 1997.
  • "The Last Jews of Czechoslovakia?" Soviet Jewish Affairs 19/1 (May, 1989). Viewer's Guide for PBS series "Heritage: Civilization and the Jews," 1983 (Co-author).

Research Interests

Research interests:  American Judaism, American Jewish popular culture, Ohio Jewish history