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Bidding Information
Lot #    22175
Auction End Date    12/23/2008 10:45:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
          
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by R. Gedaliah Silverstone
Title (Hebrew)    מה'ר גדלי' סילווערסטאן
Author    [Ms.]
City    Washington, D.C.
Publication Date    1908 or 09
          
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
          
Description Information
Physical
Description
   [2] pp., 242:153 mm., light age staining, creased on folds, ink on stationary, Ashkenazic script, signed, partially dated.
          
Detailed
Description
   Letter to R. Shmuel Salant, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem by R. Gedaliah b. Isiah Meir Silverstone, Chief Rabbi of Washington D.C. The commentary critiques many contemporary ills and leaders. R. Silverstone was born in 5631 [1871] in Jasionowka, Poland, where his maternal grandfather was the rabbi. At the age of two, he moved to Sakot, Kovno Province, where his father served as a rabbi. R. Silverstone studied in the yeshivot in Ruzhany and Telz until 1891, when his father moved his family to Liverpool. R. Silverstone was appointed the rabbi of the Orthodox Congregation of Belfast in 5661 [1901]. He visited America in 5665 [1905] to sell his books. The following year he decided to settle there because he could not support his large family in England and he was appointed rabbi of the Combined Congregations of Washington, D.C. R. Silverstone, a popular rabbi, was on good terms with his congregants. As opposed to other American rabbis of the period, his publishing endeavors were supported by the community at large and he issued pamphlets of sermons on an almost annual basis. He had little difficulty in attracting benefactors to defray the publishing costs. R. Dov Ber Manischewitz of Cincinnati and Noah [Nathan?] Musher were among his patrons and he repeatedly reported that his works were eagerly sought after by preachers. He generally published only sermons because he knew that most American Jews would not read his more scholarly works and because "many rabbis and sages from other states [or countries?] write to me that my approach to aggadah is the only one that can be used to influence the masses and lure them to their Father in heaven" (Mesamhai Lev, St. Louis 1925, pp. 5-6). A vocal opponent of non-Orthodox synagogues, seminaries and rabbis, his sermons contain many polemical statements. R. Silverstone was a vice president of the Agudath Harabbonim, a director of the Hebrew Sanitarium of Denver and the Hebrew Home for the Aged of Washington, D.C., and a member of B'nai B'rith. He also founded the first talmud torah in Washington, D.C. and many of his sermons refer to the poor state of Jewish education. An active Zionist, R. Silverstone attended the Sixth Zionist Congress (1903) as a delegate from Belfast. He later sent two of his sons to study in Jerusalem and, after visiting the Land of Israel ca. 1921, he announced that he would soon be immigrating there (Darke be-Kodesh, St. Louis 1922, pp. 4, 6). Though he was unable to carry out his plans right away (Doresh Tov, St. Louis 1923, p. 5), he did visit again within a year, this time together with R. Zevi Hirsch Masliansky. He finally settled in Jaffa by Elul of 1923 and he was invited to preach a number of times at the Neveh Tzedek synagogue. A few months later, however, he was compelled to return to Washington because his wife became ill. Attempts to settle in Safed in 1936 and in Jerusalem in 5698 [1938]-5699 [1939] failed as well and he returned to America each time. He returned once more a few years later, this time remaining until his death in 1944. R. Silverstone was a grandson of R. Elijah Abramsky; a nephew of R. Hayyim Zevi Hirsch Braude; the father of R. Dr. Harry Silverstone; a cousin of R. Zelig Reuben Bengis; and an in-law of R. Gershom Ravinson of Cleveland.
          
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Listing Classification
Period
20th Century:    Checked
  
Location
America-South America:    Checked
  
Subject
  
Characteristic
Language:    Hebrew
  
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
  
Kind of Judaica