||On the dispute between R. Abraham b. Alexander Katz of Kalisk(Kalisz; 1741–1810), hasidic leader in Poland and Erez Israel and R. Shneur Zalman of Liady (1745–1813), founder of Habad Hasidism. In 1777 R. Abraham emigrated to Erez Israel with the group of Hasidim led by R. Menahem Mendel of Vitebsk. He first settled in Safed and later in Tiberias, where he spent his last years. After the death of R. Menahem Mendel, R. Abraham succeeded him as head of the hasidic groups in Erez Israel. His cordial relations with the founder of the Habad movement, came to an end after the latter published his Tanya in 1796; R. Abraham expressed his disillusionment with R. Shneur Zalman's philosophical system, and R. Shneur Zalman, who was also treasurer of the fund in Russia, retaliated by stopping the flow of contributions. R. Abraham emphasized the importance of the hasidic group, independent of the authority of a zaddik. He believed in dibbuk haverim, a close association between comrades who through contemplation and self-abnegation arrive together at a state of mystical ecstasy. His sayings and letters are collected in Hesed le-Avraham (1851) and lggerot Kodesh (1927).
Abraham Jacob Brawer (1884–1975), Israel geographer and historian. Brawer, who was born in Stry, Ukraine, studied in Vienna at the university and at the rabbinical seminary. From 1910 to 1911 he taught at a secondary school in Tarnopol. While there he published Dov Ber Birkenthal's Divrei Binah which dealt with false Messiahs in Jewish history (Ha-Shilo'ah, 33 (1917); 38 (1921)). In 1911 he settled in Erez Israel and taught at the Ezra Teachers Seminary in Jerusalem. In the summer of 1914 he taught in Salonika and from 1915 to 1918 in Constantinople, where he also served as rabbi of the Ashkenazi congregation. After pursuing research work in geography at the University of Vienna, he returned in 1920 to the Teachers Seminary in Jerusalem, where he taught until 1949. He wrote Avak-Derakhim (2 vols., 1944–46) about his travels in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Persia and his descriptive Ha-Arez (later Erez Yisrael), the first modern regional geography of Erez Israel, was published in 1928 (3rd ed. 1954). Brawer also published several textbooks on geography, an atlas, and maps and was geography editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia. He was one of the three founding members of the Israel Exploration Society and its first honorary secretary.