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Bidding Information
Lot #    7048
Auction End Date    3/30/2004 2:30:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Letter by R. Unterman, Chief Rabbi of Israel
Title (Hebrew)    מכתב מה'ר איסר יהודא אונטרמן, רב הראשי
Author    [Ms.]
City    Tel Aviv
Publication Date    1948
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [1] p., 238:198 mm., creased on folds, light browning, neat Ashkenazi script, ink on paper, signed and dated.
   Protocol by the late Chief Rabbi of Israel, dealing with butcher shops in Jaffa. The decision is cosigned by R. Jacob Moses Toledano, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

R. Unterman (1886 - 1976), Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, was born in Brest-Litovsk, Belorussia, he studied at the Maltash, Mir, and Volozhin yeshivot and was ordained by R. Raphael Shapiro. At the age of 24 he was appointed rosh yeshivah in Vishova, Lithuania, and served subsequently as rabbi of various Lithuanian communities. His last position there was as rabbi of Grodno during 1921–24. Possessing oratorical and expository talents of a high order, he attained a distinguished record during World War I as a communal leader after representing the community before the authorities, and in the postwar period he displayed outstanding organizational gifts in the reconstruction of the Lithuanian yeshivot. In 1924 he was appointed rabbi of Liverpool, England, and, rapidly mastering English, soon made his influence felt. A fervent Zionist, he became president of the British Mizrachi Organization and appeared before the Anglo-American Inquiry Commission on Palestine in 1946. He championed the rights of aliens and was a member of the Council of Christians and Jews.

In 1946 Rabbi Unterman was elected Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in succession to Rabbi M. A. Amiel, and in 1964, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, succeeding Rabbi I. Herzog. During his period of office in Tel Aviv he organized the rabbinic courts, making them a model of efficiency. He founded two kolelim (graduate talmudical academies) - Shevet mi-Yhudah in Tel Aviv and Shevet u-MeHokekim in Jerusalem - where he introduced a systematic method of Talmud study based on the practical halakhah for select students preparing for the rabbinate and for service as religious functionaries and teachers in advanced yeshivot. While he insisted on unflinching loyalty to the minutiae of the halakhah, he approached public issues with moderation and understanding. In 1952 he toured the U.S. on behalf of the United Jewish Appeal and helped to strengthen the relationship between the American and Israel rabbinates. Rabbi Unterman wrote Shevet mi-Yhudah (1952), on problems of halakhah. He contributed to many rabbinical periodicals and made valuable additions to the Ozar ha-Posekim, the digest of responsa literature. Many of his responsa appear in the works of others and are a model of lucidity.

Paragraph 2    R. Jacob Moshe Toledano(1880–1960), rabbi and scholar. Toledano's father Judah had immigrated from Morocco. Jacob was born, educated, and ordained in Tiberias. During 1899–1909, his first articles appeared in the Jerusalem Hebrew paper Havazzelet, under the title Hiddushei Torah. They were written in elegant Hebrew and in a scholarly style. Toledano was also interested in ancient manuscripts preserved in the libraries and yeshivot of oriental countries. He conceived the idea of founding a society to publish them and with this aim in mind entered into correspondence with scholars in western countries who encouraged him to implement the project. As a result of the cholera epidemic in Tiberias in 1903, he and his family left the town and settled in Peki'in. During the seven years he lived there he devoted himself to the study of the history of oriental Jewry and its personalities, as well as to the affairs of the Peki'in community, and published his Ner ha-Ma'arav. At the beginning of World War I, together with 700 "French" Jews (of North African descent) from Galilee, he was exiled from Erez Israel to Corsica because of his French citizenship. As the representative of the Alliance IsraMlite Universelle and the French government, he headed the committee of exiles and worked for their material and spiritual benefit. In 1920 he returned to Tiberias and took part in activities to revive communal life in the town; he represented it in 1921 at the rabbinical conference held in Jerusalem to establish the chief rabbinate of Erez Israel. In 1926 he was appointed a member of the Tangier rabbinate, and in 1929 av bet din and deputy chief rabbi of Cairo. In 1933 he was appointed to the similar office in Alexandria, as well as deputy head of the rabbinical court of appeals in Cairo, and in 1937 he became chief rabbi of Alexandria. In 1942 he was elected Sephardi chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, succeeding Ben Zion Ouziel. In 1958, when the religious parties had left the government coalition, he was appointed minister of religious affairs.

His Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), the history of the Jews in Morocco from the commencement of their settlement and the biographies of its great rabbis, is a basic work for research into the origins of Jewry in North Africa. His other books included Appiryon (Jerusalem, 1905), a bibliography of the supercommentators to Rashi's commentary to the Pentateuch; Yedei Moshe (Safed, 1915), a commentary on the Mishnah Pesahim by Maimonides from a manuscript; Yam ha-Gadol (Cairo, 1931), responsa; Sarid u-Falit (Tel Aviv, 1945), giving passages from manuscripts on ancient works dealing with the Talmud, Jewish scholarship, the history of the settlement in Erez Israel, and bibliography; and Ozar Genazim (1960), a collection of letters on the history of Erez Israel from ancient manuscripts, with introductions and notes.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Israel:    Checked
Halacha:    Checked
History:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Letters:    Checked
Kind of Judaica