SITTEON (Sutton) DABBAH, SHAUL DAVID

SITTEON (Sutton) DABBAH, SHAUL DAVID (1850–1930), rabbi of the Aleppan community in Buenos Aires. Born in aleppo , Syria, in 1877 he was appointed a member of the bet din (rabbinic tribunal) there, and four years later became the rabbi of the city of Ain Tab. After ten years (1881–91), he returned to Aleppo and founded a yeshivah. In 1912 he went to visit his sons who had immigrated to Buenos Aires and was appointed rabbi of the Aleppan community in that city. Critical of the religious laxity that reigned in Buenos Aires, he started to impose strict halakhic rules on the immigrants from his home town who were used to a strong rabbinical authority. He founded the congregation Yesod Hadat, which controlled the sheḥitah and sale of kosher meat, and opened a talmud torah where studies were conducted in Arabic. His traditional approach was manifested in his resistance to the establishment of a modern system of learning "Hebrew in Hebrew." He was also active in the foundation of the burial society – Hesed Shel Emet Sefaradit de Aleppo – that later became the main communal framework of the Aleppan community (AISA – Asociación Israelita Sefaradí Argentina). Sitteon became famous with the ban against conversions in Argentina that was published in his book of Responsa Dibber Shaul (Jerusalem, 1928). The ban, which is still valid in several Sephardi communities in Latin America, was issued under the influence of Rabbi Aharon Goldman of Moisesville and received the haskamot of the chief rabbis of Ereẓ Israel. It decreed that no conversion would be accepted in Argentina, but permitted the acceptance of conversions by rabbinic tribunals in Jerusalem. Sitteon rarely participated in Zionist activities   and was the representative of Agudat Israel for the Sephardi sector. (Margalit Bejarano (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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