BOBOV


BOBOV
BOBOV, ḥasidic group that began with solomon halberstam (1847–1905), who lived in the Galcian town of Bobowa. Solomon was the grandson of Rabbi Ḥayyim of Sanz, founder of the Sanzer ḥasidim. Solomon enjoyed great popularity among the young people in his area, whom flocked to hear his Torah and to seek his counsel. He is credited with starting the first yeshivah in Poland. He was succeeded by his son Ben Zion Halberstam (1874–1941). Ben Zion continued his father's work in education. By the beginning of World War II, he had established 60 satellite yeshivot, with the yeshivah in Bobov as the center. Ben Zion, along with two of his sons, two sons-in-law, and his daughters perished at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust. His son Solomon (1908–2000) managed to escape the Nazis by fleeing to Italy. Immediately after the war, Solomon made his way to New York City. He settled first in Manhattan, then moved to Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and finally to Boro Park in Brooklyn, where he remained. Boro Park continued to be the world center of the Bobover ḥasidim and the home of the rebbe. At the end of World War II, only 300 Bobover ḥasidim remained. Solomon managed to obtain visas for them as well as for hundreds of orphans who were in the Italian transfer camps to join him in America. These orphans were among the very first students enrolled in the new   Bobover schools in America. One of the first educational institutions started by Solomon was a trade school in Manhattan. The purpose was to teach ḥasidic refugees marketable skills so they could earn a living. These schools were the beginning of a network of Bobov schools and yeshivot that currently stretches from Brooklyn to Toronto, Canada, to London, to Antwerp, and to Israel. They are the hallmark of a remarkable rebuilding of Bobov ḥasidism from a few hundred to well over 20,000 ḥasidim around the world. Some estimate that there were as many as 100,000 Bobov ḥasidim at the turn of the century. There were approximately 7,000 men and women in Bobover schools in America. In Israel, there was a Bobov community just outside Bat Yam, as well as large yeshivot in Jerusalem and Bene-Berak. The Israeli branch pursues a non-confrontational but non-Zionist stance vis-à-vis the Israeli government. Their sons do not serve in the IDF. Throughout his tenure as rebbe, Solomon steered clear of the disputes that have marred the relationships between other ḥasidic groups. He was also very actively involved in the lives of his ḥasidim, attending innumerable bar mitzvahs, weddings, and circumcisions. At the time of his death in 2000, Bobov was one of the three largest ḥasidic groups (with Lubavitch and Satmar). Solomon was succeeded by his son Naftali (1931–2005), who, during his last years, was constantly ill. He did not leave a son to succeed him; thus a dispute broke out on the day of his funeral as to who would be the next rebbe, his younger half-brother, Benzion, or his sonin-law, Mordechai Unger. Benzion gained the upper hand; however, it remained to be seen if there would be a split in the Bobov ḥasidic group. Solomon Halberstam, the first American Bobover rebbe, published a two-volume compilation of his father's comments on the Pentateuch and the holidays, titled Sefer Kedushat Zion (1994). His own comments on the high holy days were published posthumously, entitled Si'aḥ Shelomo (2002). Over the years, Bobov published numerous small monographs (kuntresim) on a wide variety of topics, including all of the holidays and various books of the Bible. They also published a number of biographies of their rebbes, especially the first two, who lived in Europe (see bibliography). At one point, they also published a Bobov telephone book, listing their numerous institutions around the world. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.S. Belcove-Shalin, in: New World Hasidim (1995), 205–36; S. Epstein, in: ibid., 237–55; D. Gliksman, Nor the Moon by Night: The Survival of the Chassidic Dynasty of Bobov (1997); A. Twerski and B. Twerski, in: Jewish Observer 33:8 (Oct. 2000), 10–21; Toledot Admorei Bobov (1981); H.D. Bakan, Shir ha-Ma'alot le-Shelomo (1999); A. Sorski, Hekhal Bobov: Perakim be-Divrei ha-Yamim ve-Toroteihem shel Avot ha-Shoshelet (1986); Zion be-Mar Tivkeh: Osef Ma'amarei Ta'aniyyah ve-Tamrurim ve-Divrei Zikaron… Maran Shelomo Halberstam (2004); S. Lipman, in: The Jewish Week (Aug. 11, 2000); Forum van de joden van Antwerpen, vol. 111 (Apr. 1, 2005), 29–31; WEBSITES: <http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Bobov> ; <http://www.nyc-architecture.com/WBG/wbg-jewish.htm> ; <http://www.consultmi.com/bobov> . (David Derovan (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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