|Rabbi Akiva Ehrenfeld|
Rabbi Ehrenfeld in January 2011
|Birth name||Akiva Ehrenfeld|
|Died||16 August 2012 (age 89)
|Parents||Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld
Akiva Ehrenfeld (Hebrew: עקיבא עהרענפעלד) (1923 – 16 August 2012) was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who established the Kiryat Mattersdorf and Unsdorf neighborhoods of northern Jerusalem. He served as president of Kiryat Mattersdorf and president of the Chasan Sofer Institutions in the United States.
He was born in Mattersdorf, Austria to Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld, then rosh yeshiva of the Mattersdorf yeshiva, and Rochel Ehrenfeld. His parents were first cousins. He was named after his parents' ancestor, Rabbi Akiva Eger. Akiva's great-grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld (the Chasan Sofer), was the eldest grandson of the Chasam Sofer. At the time of his birth, his grandfather, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld, was the Rav of the city; upon his death in 1926, Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld succeeded him as Rav. Akiva had an older brother, Simcha Bunim, and five sisters.
Akiva studied in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and later joined his father's yeshiva, Yeshivas Chasan Sofer. In 1954 he married the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Krieger, formerly Rav of Brussels, Belgium. The couple had one son and five daughters.
Establishing Kiryat Mattersdorf
In 1959 the Mattersdorfer Rav founded the Haredi community of Kiryat Mattersdorf in northern Jerusalem in memory of the Siebengemeinden (Seven Communities) of Burgenland, Austria, which were destroyed in the Holocaust, Mattersdorf being one of them. Rabbi Akiva acted as his representative in supervising the construction and sale of apartments. He sold the first apartments in the neighborhood to Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, his family members and students, encouraging Scheinberg to relocate his yeshiva, Torah Ore, to Jerusalem from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn by offering attractive terms for apartments and land for the yeshiva. Torah Ore opened in Kiryat Mattersdorf in 1971.
Among the institutions that Ehrenfeld set up were Talmud Torah Maaneh Simcha; Yeshiva Maaneh Simcha; Yeshivas Beis Shmuel (named for his father, who died in 1980); two synagogues named Heichal Shmuel, one for nusach Ashkenaz and one for nusach Sefard; and the Neveh Simcha nursing home, named after his grandfather. Rabbi Akiva moved to Kiryat Mattersdorf in the early 1990s and served as president of all these institutions. He established close ties with the government of Austria to obtain funding for several institutions, including a kindergarten and the Neveh Simcha nursing home. Following an official state visit to Israel by Austrian President Thomas Klestil in 1994, which included a side tour of Kiryat Mattersdorf, Klestil hosted Ehrenfeld at an official reception at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on January 24, 1995.
Rabbi Akiva declined to serve as the neighborhood's Rav. Instead, he acted as president of Kiryat Mattersdorf while his only son, Rabbi Yitzchok Yechiel Ehrenfeld, became a Rav of the neighborhood.
Death and burial
Ehrenfeld underwent surgery for an abdominal obstruction on July 16, 2012 (Tisha B'Av) but did not recover. He died on August 16, 2012 at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and was buried that night on Har HaMenuchot near the grave of his father.
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- Cohen, Yitzchok. "The Mattersdorfer Rav". Hamodia Magazine, 28 May 2009, pp. 6–8.
- "Mattersdorf/Mattersburg". Burgenländische Volkshochschulen. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
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- Shain, Ruchoma (2001 expanded edition). All For the Boss: The Life and Impact of R' Yaakov Yosef Herman, a Torah Pioneer in America: An Affectionate Family Chronicle. Feldheim Publishers. pp. 407–408. ISBN 1583304703.
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- "Neveh Simcha homepage". Retrieved 8 November 2010.
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- Klestil, Thomas (2005). Thomas Klestil--der Verantwortung verpflichtet: Ansprachen und Vorträge 1992–2004 [Thomas Klestil Undertakes the Responsibility: Speeches and lectures, 1992–2004] (in German). Verlag Österreich. p. 315. ISBN 3704647578.