Aaron Schechter

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Rabbi Aaron Schechter celebrating Purim in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin during the late 1970s.

Aaron Moshe Schechter (also Aharon Moshe Schechter) is the rosh yeshiva ("dean") of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and its post-graduate Talmudical division Kollel Gur Aryeh as well as of all the branches of the yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York City that includes an elementary school and a high school for young Jewish boys, teenagers, and young men almost exclusively drawn from the surrounding community of Haredi Jews living in Midwood, Brooklyn. The total number of students at the "Chaim Berlin" institutions is close to three thousand students.

Rabbi Schechter was born in Brooklyn in the 1920s and became a disciple of Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner after being enrolled in the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin as a young child. He also studied in the Lakewood Yeshiva. His father belonged to the Young Israel movement and was befriended by Rabbi Hutner who had arrived in America in the 1930s.

He married Shoshana Roisa Leichtung in 1954. She served as the Principal of General Studies at Yeshiva of Brooklyn's girls' elementary school for over 20 years. She died on August 4, 2016.[1]

They had two sons. One, Rabbi Mordechai Zelig Schecter, serves as the Mashgiach Ruchani at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. The other, Rabbi Nosson Schecter, is a mohel. Their eldest daughter is Rebbetzin Esther Yormark, longtime teacher at Beis Yaakov Academy in Brooklyn. She is the wife of Rabbi Shalom Eliyahu "Elyah" Yormark, who serves as the Second Seder Shoel Umeishiv for 12th grade and the 1st year of the post-high school program. Another daughter is Rebbetzin Nechama Halioua, wife of Rabbi Shlomo Halioua. Rabbi Halioua serves as Maggid Shiur, delivering the most advanced course offered in the yeshiva. It is he who is said to be the eventual replacement of his father-in-law as Rosh Yeshiva. The last daughter is Rebbetzin Yehudis Senderovitz, wife of Rabbi Yitzchok Meir "Itche" Senderovitz. Rabbi Senderovitz is the Second Seder Shoel Umeishiv for the second and third years of the post-high school program.

Disciple of Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner[edit]

Rabbi Hutner chose Rabbi Schechter for leadership positions in the yeshiva even prior to Schechter's marriage. He encouraged him to write a rabbinic commentary on Maimonides that he called Avodas Aharon [2]

Rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin[edit]

A number of years prior to his death in 1980, Rabbi Hutner officially announced that Rabbi Schechter and Rabbi Yonasan David would both serve as co-equal roshei yeshiva of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. This was done when the yeshiva moved to its location on Coney Island Avenue in 1966 and Rabbi Hutner declared to all present that henceforth Rabbi Schechter and Rabbi David would share seats at the front of the main beth midrash (the main study hall of the yeshiva) with Rabbi Schechter sitting at the front right and Rabbi David at the front left, and with Rabbi Hutner sitting in the center.

Agudath Israel and Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah[edit]

After the death of Rabbi Hutner in 1980 Rabbi Schechter joined the nesius ("presidium") of Agudath Israel of America. After the death in 1987 of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman (the founder and rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Yisrael in Baltimore) Rabbi Schechter was accepted as one of the members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, the supreme rabbinical policy decision-making body of Agudath Israel of America. In this capacity he has become one of the foremost guides and leaders for Haredi Judaism in the United States, particularly of the Lithuanian Jewish community (although he also works.

Rabbi Schechter works closely with two other early disciples of Rabbi Hutner on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Rabbi Aharon Feldman of Yeshiva Ner Yisrael and Rabbi Yaakov Perlow ( who was appointed Rosh Agudas Yisroel -- "head [of] Agudath Israel [of America]") the Hasidic Rebbe of Novominsk as well as with members of the Moetzes and the lay leadership of Agudath Israel that is headquartered in Manhattan.

On January 13, 2015, Rabbi Schechter resigned from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah over a dispute regarding internal dissent in the World Agudath Israel affiliated Degel Hatorah. But after the dispute was settled, he returned.


Shechter has been linked to a few controversies. Most notably he was listed as a Lo Tsayis Dino by Rav Moshe Feinstein over his refusal to answer to a rabbinic court over his handling of the case of R' Shlomo Carlebach, who was fired by Rabbi Hutner from his position as Mashgiach of Chaim Berlin. Despite being urged to attend by numerous Rabbis including Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, and Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, Rabbi Schechter did not appear at a din Torah before R' Feinstein.[3]

Leadership beyond Brooklyn[edit]

Schechter sits on the governing rabbinical boards of key Haredi institutions in the United States, such as Torah Umesorah - National Society for Hebrew Day Schools and Chinuch Atzmai.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Rebbetzin Shoshana Schechter, A”h - Hamodia Jewish Community News". Hamodia. 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  2. ^ Aharon Moshe Schechter, Sefer Avodat Aharon (Shulsinger Brothers, 1957)
  3. ^ http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/27/schechter_no_beit_din_1.jpg