AARONSOHN, MOSES (1805–1875), preacher, rabbi, and scholar. Born in Salant, Lithuania, Aaronsohn was a preacher (maggid) in Eastern Europe (Vishtinetz, Brotski, and Mir) and was recognized for his scholarship by 1836, when he published Pardes ha-Ḥokhmah, a book of sermons. He later published Pardes ha-Binah, a book of sermons with responsa. Aaronsohn arrived in the United States c. 1860, living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where he held services in his home and was known as "The East Broadway Maggid." For four years, he served as a preacher in a number of established synagogues, including Chevrat Vizhaner and the Allen Street Beth Hamedrash, which had split from the Beis Medrash Hagadol. In 1864, he became the rabbi at Congregation Adath Yeshurun in New York City. He continued to write responsa and also included the opinions of those rabbis in Eastern Europe with whom he corresponded regarding contemporary halakhic issues. Aaronsohn was a strong personality with definite opinions, which eventually erupted into major controversies. He attacked the scholarship and practices of two New York rabbis who were eminent talmudic scholars, Rabbi abraham joseph ash and Rabbi Judah Mittleman, calling into question divorces written by Rabbi Ash and the kashrut of the animals slaughtered under the supervision of Rabbi Mittleman – whom he accused of allowing improper bloodletting before sheḥitah. By 1873, when he criticized the kashrut of certain California wines, the hostility he created in the clergy caused him to be excommunicated by Ash and Mittleman, and he was forced to leave New York. For a time, he served as an itinerant preacher and finally settled in Chicago, where he died. His book on American responsa, Matta'ei Mosheh, was published posthumously in 1878 in Jerusalem.   -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Approbations in Pardes ha-Binah (1842); Z.H. Bernstein, Yalkut Ma'aravi 1 (1904), 129–30; J.D. Eisenstein, Oẓer Yisrael (1907), 167; idem, Oẓer Zikhronotai (1929), 24; Y.Y. Greenwald, Ha-Shoḥet ve-ha-Sheḥitah ba-Sifrut ha-Rabbanit (1955), 6–10; M. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996), 13–14. (Jeanette Friedman (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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