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Bidding Information
Lot #    16495
Auction End Date    12/5/2006 11:42:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by several rabbis
Author    [Ms. - Community]
City    Jerusalem
Publication Date    1891
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [10] pp., 285:224 mm., usual age staining, creased, ink on paper, many signatures and stamps, dated.
   Appointing R. Eliezer Zalman Grajewski (18431899), shedar for Kollel Shomrei ha-Homot in America. R. Grajewski was born in Malyaty (Maletai), near Vilna. He served first as the rabbi of Kletsk and later of Orsha. In 1873, he visited Erez Israel, where he became a strong supporter of the new settlers. Upon his return, he published reminiscences of his journey in Ha-Ivri. When the Mazkeret Moshe organization was founded to honor Sir Moses Montefiore, leading Russian rabbis advocated the appointment of R. Grajewski as its director in Erez Israel, and for this purpose he went to England in 1876. He did not, however, obtain the appointment but instead was appointed rabbi in Liverpool in 1877. He also traveled extensively throughout the United States, where he lectured on the necessity of encouraging the upbuilding of Erez Israel. In 1890 Grajewski settled in Jerusalem, where he lived for the remainder of his life, although he died in Rigrod, near the Prussian border, after having gone to Vienna for medical treatment. His published works include Ginnat Egoz (1887), consisting of sermons and talmudic novellae: Ginzei Keneset Yisrael (1877), and Gevul Yam (1889), two commentaries to the Haggadah; and Si'ah Eli'ezer (1896), explanations of piyyutim recited on special occasions. The document contains many important signatures including:

R. Samuel Salant (18161909) was the chief rabbi of Jerusalem and one of the foremost 19th-century rabbis in Jerusalem. Born near Bialystok (Russia, now Poland), R. Salant studied at yeshivot in Vilna, Salant, and Volozhin. He set out for Erez Israel in 1840, but was delayed for a few months in Constantinople, where he first met Sir Moses Montefiore, with whom he established a firm friendship. In 1841 he reached Jerusalem, where the heads of the kolel Lita appointed him rabbi of the Ashkenazi community. A leading figure in Jerusalem, he became Ashkenazi chief rabbi in 1878, holding the position until his death. Salant strove to develop the institutions of the Ashkenazi community, which increased from 500 members at his arrival to 30,000 at the time of his death, and succeeded in obtaining for the Ashkenazim the official status previously enjoyed only by the Sephardi community. Between 1848 and 1851 and in 1860 he traveled to several European countries to collect money for religious institutions in Jerusalem. Salant was a founder of the Ez Hayyim Talmud Torah and Yeshivah, the Bikkur Holim Hospital, and the Keneset Israel General Committee, which united all the kolelim under a single administration. He also encouraged the establishment of the Jewish quarters, such as Me'ah She'arim, Keneset Israel, and others, outside the Old City walls. He tried to lessen the friction between the veteran settlement and the new yishuv, combated the activities of the mission schools and ameliorated the relations between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities. R. Salant lived an exemplary life of the utmost frugality. He devoted himself without stint to the needs of his community. He was an outstanding posek, distinguishing himself by his power of decision, and showed a definite tendency toward leniency in his decisions.

Full page of text and signature by R. Jacob Joseph (18481902), Chief Rabbi of New York. R. Jacob Joseph was born in Krozhe, province of Kovno. He studied at the yeshivah of Volozhin under R. Hirsch Leib Berlin and later under R. Israel Salanter, and served the communities of Vilon, Yurburg, and Zhagovy before becoming rabbi and Maggid of Vilna in 1883. Although a brilliant student of Talmud, R. Joseph was especially known for his homiletical talents. In 1888 he arrived in the U.S. to assume the post of chief rabbi of the Orthodox congregations of Russian Jews in New York City. As he was primarily concerned with the taxed supervision of meat kashrut, much opposition was expressed against him from sectors of the Jewish community who rejected this supervision and objected to the imposition of a kosher meat tax. Although an invalid from 1895, R. Joseph founded the Bes Sefer Yeshiva (1900), which was renamed the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva upon his death. His works include the collection of sermons, Le-Veit Ya'akov (1888) and a contribution to the only issue of the publication Sefer Toledot Ya'akov Yosef be-New York (1889). His funeral procession, attended by estimates in tens of thousands of Jews, occasioned a riot as workmen of the R. Hoe & Co. factory on the East Side pelted the procession with nuts and bolts. Many mourners were injured by the assailants and police.

Full page of text by R. Hillel b. Zev Zevi ha-Kohen Klein (18491926), founder of the Agudat ha-Rabonim and U.S. Orthodox rabbi. R. Klein, who was born in Baracs, Hungary, was ordained by R. Zevi Auerbach in 1870 and the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin in 1871. His wife was the granddaughter of R. Samson Raphel Hirsh. R. Klein served as rabbi in Kiev (187480) and Libau, Latvia (188091). Russian anti-Semitism, exacerbated by the policies of Alexander III, caused him to leave Russia for the U.S. in 1891. He served as rabbi of the First Hungarian Congregation Ohab Zedek, New York City, from 1891 until 1926, was a leader of the war-relief drive (1914) in the U.S., and was serving as president of the U.S. Agudat Israel movement at the time of his death. R. Klein was extremely active in New York City's Orthodox religious life.

R. Zebulen b. Isaac Charlap (c. 1840-1898) of Vilkaviskis, Lita and emigrated to Erez Israel in his youth. He studied with the great rabbis of Jerusalem who ordained him. An erudite scholar he wrote Meorei Or, commentary to Mishle. R. Harlap was the scribe and subsequently a member of the Great Bet Din in Jerusalem.

R. Joshua Zvi Hirsch Michel b. Jacob Koppel Shapiro (c. 1840-1906) was born in Hebron to a distinguished family of Torah scholars. His piety, scholarship, and wisdom are the basis of many stories retold to this day. Among his many noted students was R. Jacob Moses Charlap. At least a dozen of his works are in print with more in manuscript.

R. Samuel Mani b. Abraham Isaac Silberman (1832-1894) was born in Pinsk and emigrated to Erez Israel in his childhood. He was a teacher of hundreds of students in the Ez Hayyim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. An erudite and beloved scholar many wonderful stories abound about him.

At least a dozen additional signatures of important period rabbis and community leaders.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew, English
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica