One Way To Get Rid Of A Rabbi

Dr. Marc B. Shapiro blogs: Speaking of rabbis who were chased out of their communities, let me repeat what I heard from the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs.[13] This story is not documented anywhere, but is something that Jacobs no doubt heard growing up in Manchester. R. Abraham Aaron Yudelevitz was a rav in Manchester at the turn of the twentieth century. He would later come to the United States where he served as a rav in Boston and later in New York, and he was also a rosh yeshiva at Yeshivat R. Yitzhak Elhanan. As with a few others, while in N.Y. he even had the title "Rav ha-Kollel."

Yudelevitz might have been the most brilliant Torah scholar in the United States. He was also prepared to stand up to anyone (including the Rogochover),[14] and is known for one incredible pesak that created enormous controversy: He permitted a woman to appoint another woman as her shaliah to carry out the halitzah ceremony. A short discussion of Yudelevitz’ life and the controversy is found in the second volume of Yeshurun,[15] the series which continues to publish massive volumes full of important and fascinating material. The typical haredi nonsense is, of course, to be found there, but since it is not so common it is no more than an unpleasant distraction.[16]

Jacobs told me that when the machers had tired of Yudelevitz, they let him know it was time to leave in the following way. When his carriage pulled up one day, inside it were a couple of prostitutes waiting for him. This was the message to Yudelevitz to get out of town! Rather than stay and fight, he set his sights on the United States.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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