||An invitation (summons) to an assembly of the leading rabbis in Erez Israel issued by the Ashkenaz and Sephardic Chief rabbis, R. Isaac Herzog and R. Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel, respectively, and onme of the most respected Rosh Yehsivot in Erez Israel, R. Isser Zalman Meltzer. The assembly is called for erev Rosh Hodesh Shevat 307 (Wednesday, January 22, 1947). Admorim and Roshei Yeshivot are called inorder to arouse weeping and mourning over the house of Israel and the Jewish people who have fallen victim to the sword and awaken them to teshuvah in these awesome and fearful times.
R. Isaac Herzog (1888–1959) was chief rabbi of Israel. Born in Lomza, Poland, he was nine years old when his father R. Joel Herzog emigrated to Leeds, England, to be the rabbi there. Though he never attended a yeshivah, he achieved the highest standards in rabbinic scholarship, receiving semikhah from Jacob David Wilkowsky (Ridbaz) of Safed. R. Herzog was awarded his doctorate of literature by the London University for a thesis on The Dyeing of Purple in Ancient Israel (1919). R. Herzog served as rabbi in Belfast (Northern Ireland), 1916–19 and in Dublin until 1936, receiving the title of chief rabbi of the Irish Free State after 1921. He maintained excellent relations with political and ecclesiastical figures, and established a life-long friendship with Eamon de Valera, the Irish prime minister. By testifying before a committee of the Irish senate he succeeded in safeguarding shehitah against the provisions of a Slaughter of Animals Act (1935). R. Herzog was an ardent Zionist and a founder of the Mizrachi Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1932 R. Herzog declined an invitation to the rabbinate of Salonika. In 1936 he accepted the invitation to become chief rabbi of Palestine in succession to R. A. I. Kook and assumed office in 1937. With the exception of a few die-hard fanatics, who sporadically challenged him, R. Herzog enjoyed the respect of the vast majority, including the non-religious elements, particularly in the kibbutzim. As chief rabbi, he was president of the Rabbinical Court of Appeal and of the Chief Rabbinate Council, and thus, through the enactment of takkanot in matters of personal status, he was responsible for significant advances, reconciling the necessities of modern living with the demands of halakhah. He also served as president of the Va'ad ha-Yeshivot, established in 1940 to solicit financial support for the country's talmudic colleges. Before, during, and after World War II R. Herzog was one of the representatives of Palestinian and world Jewry to the various conferences and commissions organized to find a solution to the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine. He set forth the Jewish spiritual claims to the Holy Land and stressed the need of a refuge for the survivors of the Holocaust. R. Herzog, deeply stirred by the tragedy of the Holocaust, traveled extensively trying to rescue Jews. In 1946 he traveled throughout Europe for six months in an attempt to find and rescue the many Jewish children, mostly orphans, who were hidden in monasteries and convents and with non-Jewish families during the years of Nazi persecution (see Massa Hazzalah, 1947). In the course of these travels he was received by the pope and many leading statesmen.
R. Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel (Ouziel, 1880–1953) was also chief rabbi of Israel, rishon le-Zion. R. Uziel was born in Jerusalem, where his father, Joseph Raphael, was the av bet din of the Sephardi community of Jerusalem, as well as president of the community council. At the age of 20 he became a yeshivah teacher and also founded a yeshivah called Mahazikei Torah for Sephardi young men. In 1911, he was appointed hakham bashi of Jaffa and the district. Immediately upon his arrival in Jaffa he began to work vigorously to raise the status of the oriental congregations there. In spirit and ideas he was close to the Ashkenazi rabbi of the Jaffa community, R. A. I. Kook, and their affinity helped to bring about more harmonious relations than previously existed between the two communities. During World War I he was active as leader and communal worker. His intercession with the Turkish government on behalf of persecuted Jews finally led to his exile to Damascus but he was permitted to return to Erez Israel, arriving in Jerusalem before the entry of the British army. In 1921 he was appointed chief rabbi of Salonika, accepting this office with the consent of the Jaffa-Tel Aviv community for a period of three years. He returned to become chief rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1923, and in 1939 was appointed chief rabbi of Erez Israel. R. Uziel was a member of the temporary committee of Jews in Erez Israel, a member of the Va'ad Le'ummi, and a representative at the meeting which founded the Jewish Agency. He appeared before the Mandatory government as a representative of the Jewish community and on missions in its behalf. He was also founder of the yeshivah Sha'ar Zion in Jerusalem. He contributed extensively to newspapers and periodicals on religious, communal, and national topics as well as Torah novellae and Jewish philosophy.
R. Isser Zalman Meltzer (1870–1953) was born in Lithuania and studied in Volozhin under R. Hayyim Soloveichik and R. Naphtali Zevi Judah Berlin, and later under the Hafez Hayyim in Radin. All of these exercised a profound influence upon him, R. Soleveichik by his talmudic methodology, R. Berlin by his love for Erez Israel, and the Hafez Hayyim by his humility and his ethical approach. In 1894 he was appointed by R. Nathan Zevi Finkel one of the principals of the Slobodka yeshivah and in 1897 the head of a yeshivah for advanced students in Slutsk, where R. Jacob David Willowski was the rabbi. When R. Willowski emigrated to Erez Israel in 1903 R. Meltzer succeeded him as rabbi of Slutsk. After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 the yeshivah moved to Kletsk in Poland. R. Meltzer, however, refused to leave his community in Slutsk, despite his suffering at the hands of the Bolsheviks. In 1923 he left Russia for Kletsk and in the same year participated in the founding conference of the Agudat Israel in Vienna, at which he was elected to the Mo'ezet Gedolei ha-Torah. In 1925 he became head of the Ez Hayyim Yeshivah in Jerusalem. He devoted himself almost entirely to the dissemination of Torah and the strengthening of yeshivot. As a fervent Zionist, he exercised a moderating influence in the councils of the Agudah. In 1935 his first work appeared, Even ha-Ezel on the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, a fundamental work of its kind.