Bobov (Hasidic dynasty)

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Bobov Institutions in Jerusalem

Bobov (or Bobover Hasidism) (Hebrew: חסידות באבוב, Yiddish: בּאָבּאָװ) is a Hasidic community within Haredi Judaism, originating in Bobowa, Galicia, in southern Poland,[1] and now headquartered in the neighborhood of Borough Park, in Brooklyn, New York.[2]

Bobov developed into a leading Hasidic dynasty through the leadership of Shlomo Halberstam, a Holocaust survivor.

There are currently two independent Bobov communities, each with their own rebbes and institutions. The first, which carries the name Bobov and inherited all Bobov institutions, is led by Benzion Halberstam. The second one, named Bobov-45, broke away from the main group in 2005, and established their own institutions; they are led by Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita.

Bobov communities are found in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn; in Monsey, New York; Los Angeles; Lakewood, New Jersey; Montreal; Toronto; Antwerp; and London.[1] In Israel, Bobov has large branches in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Elad, Beitar Illit, and an enclave, "Kiryas Bobov", in Bat Yam.[3]

Outline of Bobov's Hasidic rabbinical lineage[edit]

Grand Rabbi
Yisroel ben Eliezer
Baal Shem Tov
founder of Hasidism
Grand Rabbi
Dov Ber
the Maggid of Mezritch
Grand Rabbi
Elimelech of Lizhensk
author of Noam Elimelech
Grand Rabbi
Naftali Tzvi Horowitz of Ropshitz
author of Zera Kodesh
Grand Rabbi
Chaim Halberstam of Sanz

author of Divrei Chaim
Rabbi Myer Noson Halberstam
3. Grand Rabbi
Shlomo Halberstam

Third Bobover Rebbe
author of Divrei Shlomo
4. Grand Rabbi
Hrh"k R Naftali Tzvi Halberstam

Fourth Bobover Rebbe
Female Halberstam
1. Grand Rabbi
Shlomo Halberstam

First Bobover Rebbe
author of Ateres Shlomo
eldest grandson of the Divrei Chaim
2. Grand Rabbi
Ben Zion Halberstam

Second Bobover Rebbe
author of Kedushas Tzion
5. Grand Rabbi
Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam

(b. 1955)
Fifth Bobover Rebbe
Grand Rabbi
Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita

(b. 1954)
Bobov-45 Rebbe
Rabbi Shulim Unger bobov-45 ruv london
Rabbi Yosef Unger
Ruv of Beth Midrash Apirion Shel Shlome
Female HalberstamFemale HalberstamFemale Rubin
Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Tauber
Bobov Dayan
Rabbi Yehoshua Rubin (born 1952)
Bobov-45 Ruv
Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Rabinovich
present Ruv of Bobov-45 in Monsey
Female HalberstamFemale Rubin
Teacher → Student
Rabbi Yonasan Binyamin Goldberger
First Rebbe of Bikofsk & Rosh Hakolel of Bobov
Rabbi Shimon Goldberger
Second and Current Rebbe of Bikofsk
Rabbi Meyer Yosef Eichenstein
Present Rosh Hakolel of Bobov-45
Father → Son
Female Halberstam
Husband ↔ Wife
Rabbi Ben Zion Blum
Bobover Dayan of London
Female Halberstam
Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel Meisles
Bobover Ruv of Kiryath Bobov in Bat Yam
Female Halberstam
Rabbi Boruch Avraham Horowitz
present Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Eitz Chaim of Bobov
Rabbi Baruch Dovid Halberstam
Sorvosher Ruv
Rabbi Ben Zion Dov Halberstam
Rabbi Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam
Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Halberstam
Ruv of Beis Chaim Yehoshua
Rabbi Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam
Rabbi of Satmar in Monsey
Rabbi Yechiel Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, NY
Rabbi Yechezkel Dovid Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe
Rabbi Chaim Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Flatbush
Rabbi Ben Zion Avraham Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Flatbush
Rabbi Shloime Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Lakewood, New Jersey


First Rebbe of Bobov, Shlomo Halberstam (1847 – 1905)[edit]

Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, the first Bobover Rebbe

Bobov originated with Shlomo Halberstam, who was the grandson of Grand Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz,[4] in the Galician village of Bobowa.[1]

While most of the early yeshivos (Talmudical academies) originated in Lithuania, the 19th century saw the opening of similar institutions in Poland. The first yeshiva in Poland was established by the first Bobover Rebbe in 1881 in Vishnitsa, where he was rabbi then; and it later moved with him to Bobov.

Second Bobover Rebbe, Benzion Halberstam (1874 – 1941)[edit]

His work was continued by his son, Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam, author of Kedushas Tzion.[5] The Bobov Yeshiva was originally situated only in the town of Bobov itself. However, under his guidance, the court grew in numbers, with Hasidic youth flocking to Bobov. Subsequently, as many as sixty branches of the yeshiva under the name Etz Chaim were established throughout Galicia.

During World War II, the Bobov Hasidic movement was destroyed. The second Rebbe himself was murdered in the Holocaust, together with family members[1] and thousands of his followers.

Third Bobover Rebbe, Shlomo Halberstam (1908 – 2000)[edit]

Barely 300 Hasidim survived, and the Rebbe's son, Shlomo Halberstam, took it upon himself to rebuild Bobov.[6] He first settled in the West Side of Manhattan, later moving to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. The yeshiva was located on the west side of Brooklyn Avenue, at 184 Brooklyn Avenue, between Park Place and Prospect Place; it later moved to nearby Borough Park. Shlomo was known as a very wise man and a gaon (exalted) in middos (good attributes). He was noted for his steadfastness in not taking sides in disputes. This brought him great popularity and respect.

Over the more than fifty years[7][6] that Shlomo was Rebbe of Bobov, he founded and built a worldwide network of synagogues, Hasidic schools for boys and girls,[8] mesivtas (high schools), and post-high school houses of learning. Besides schools, a summer camp for boys was founded in 1957 in Ferndale, New York, and a girls camp, Camp Gila, was founded a few years later. At the time of his death in August 2000, he was mourned by more followers than his father had in pre-war Poland. His Hebrew date of death was the first of Av, the same as that of Aaron, the Biblical High Priest. At his funeral it was publicly announced that his oldest son Reb Naftali would succeed him as Rebbi, and his younger brother Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam would serve as "Rav Hatzair" [Young Rabbi]. [9] Many have noted their similar characteristics of Ohev Shalom VeRodef Shalom (Loved peace and pursued peace).[10]

Fourth Bobover Rebbe, Naftali Halberstam (1931 – 2005)[edit]

With Shlomo Halberstam's death, his older son, Naftali Zvi Halberstam, succeeded him. Naftali Zvi died on March 23, 2005[1] (12th of Adar II, 5765), at age seventy-four, leaving a wife, two daughters, and two sons-in-law: one, Yehoshua Rubin, Rav of Bobov-45, and the other, Mordechai Dovid Unger, Rebbe of Bobov-45.

Fifth and current Rebbe of Bobov, Benzion Halberstam (1955 –)[edit]

After Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Halberstam of Bobov died in 2005, a dispute arose[11] among Bobover Hasidim as to who should succeed the dynasty leadership; the majority preferred Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, the younger brother of the late Rebbe, while another smaller group of people preferred his brother-in-law Mordechai Dovid Unger. For seven years, while a prolonged arbitration proceeding at a beth din was going on, both groups claimed the rightful Bobov leadership. After seven years of deliberation, the beth din ruled, among other decisions regarding assets, that Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, brother of the previous Rebbe,[12] has the only right to claim the name Bobov and is the rightful successor. however, the ruling allowed Mordechai Dovid Unger to be named Bobov-45 rebbe.[13]

First and current Grand rabbi of bobov-45 Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita[edit]

Bobov-45 is an offshoot of the Bobov dynasty, also headquartered in Borough Park. It has branches in Williamsburg and Monsey, New York; Lakewood, New Jersey; Los Angeles; Montreal; Toronto; London; Manchester; Antwerp; and an enclave "Yishuv of Chasidei Bobov-45" in Union, New Jersey. In Israel, Bobov-45 has branches in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod, Elad, and Beitar Illit.

Grand Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger, Bobov-45 Rebbe

Mordechai Dovid Unger is the first Grand Rabbi of Bobov-45. He is the younger son-in-law of the fourth Bobover Rebbe, Naftali Zvi Halberstam. Yehoshua Rubin, the older son-in-law of Halberstam, is the current dayan and rabbinical leader of the sect.

History of Bobov-45[edit]

The third Bobover Rebbe, Shlomo Halberstam, rebuilt the Bobov Hasidic dynasty in the United States, after losing his wife and most of his children in the Holocaust; his son, Naftali, survived.[14] After the war, Shlomo Halberstam remarried, and had a son, Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, half-brother to Naftali.[12]

Naftali became the fourth rebbe upon his father's death. He had no sons, but left two daughters, one of whom married Yehoshua Rubin, and the other Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita.

In 2005, after the death of Naftali Halberstam, a breakaway group of Bobover Hasidim loyal to his son-in-law, Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita, set up a grand hall under his leadership on 45th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn.[1] A leadership dispute then arose between Unger and Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, who both claimed the title of Bobover Rebbe.

The dispute was taken to a beth din (arbitration panel), which ruled that the faction following Halberstam held the rights to the name "Bobov". Unger was also allowed to use the name Bobov, as long as a distinguishing identifier would be added to it.[15] The qualifying suffix "-45" was henceforth adopted in tribute to the street on which the community center of the sect was located at the time. In addition, the beth din ordered Bobov to pay $6,200,000 to Bobov-45's Rebbe and dayan in twenty-five quarterly installments, as an allotment of their faction's share of the inheritance of the Bobov enterprise's assets, it is unknown what the value of the assets were at the time.

As the Rebbe of Bobov-45, Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger Shlita has also been active in the wider Jewish community.[16]


Community institutions, such as a synagogue, have been built within Bobov-45. Other Bobov infrastructure includes a Yeshiva,[17] beth midrash (study hall),[18] cheder (elementary school),[19] yeshiva ketana (secondary school),[20] mesivta,[21] girls school,[22] day camp,[23] and wedding halls.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Naftali Halberstam Dies at 74; Bobov Hasidim's Grand Rabbi". The New York Times. March 25, 2005.
  2. ^ Mintz, Jerome (1998). Hasidic People. Harvard University Press. p. 120. ISBN 9780674041097.
  3. ^ Tzvi Rabinowicz (2000). Hasidism in Israel: A History of the Hasidic Movement. ISBN 0765760681.
  4. ^ "We Are the King's Children". June 7, 2002.
  5. ^ "The Second Bobover Rebbe, Rabbi Ben Zion bar Shlomo Halberstam, was born in 1874 (5634) in the village of Bikofsk, Galicia. His family moved to Bobov and, ... "19 km from Auschwitz. The Story of Trzebinia".
  6. ^ a b "Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam". September 1, 2000. ...had been all but wiped out by the Nazi Holocaust. Virtually single-handedly, Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, who has died aged 92, revived it.
  7. ^ pre-WW II thru '00
  8. ^ "Grand Rabbi Solomon Halberstam". August 17, 2000.
  9. ^ Numbers 33:38
  10. ^ Pirkei Avot 1:12
  11. ^ "Borough Park, NY - Bobov Dispute Heads Into Final Stage At Din Torah, Not Secular Court". VosIzNeias.
  12. ^ a b London,UK - "Chasidey Bobov-45 Beth Hamedrash" - " (The congregation should not be confused with the Beth Hemedrash of Kehal Chasidei Bobov of Egerton Road N16, which follows the leadership of the brother of the Fourth Bobover Rebbe.) "Bobov Synagogue, Clapton Common, London". JCR-UK Jewish Communities & Records.
  13. ^ "bobov psd.pdf" (PDF). Dropbox.
  14. ^ "The Life And Legacy Of Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam". August 1, 2008.
  15. ^ "Bobov-45 Rebbe dances at wedding". October 26, 2017.
  16. ^ "Jan 20, 2016 - The Bobov 45 Rebbe, Reb Mordche Duvid Unger Shlita, being Menachem Aveil the BMG Rish Yeshivah HaRav Yerucham Olshin Shlita". January 20, 2016.
  17. ^ "Rabbinical College Bobover Yeshiva".
  18. ^ "Driving directions to Bobov-45 Bais Medrash, Brooklyn, United States".
  19. ^ "Science Fair at the Bobov-45 Cheider". March 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "Federal contract awards,..." "Contracting Profile: Yeshiva Ketana Of Bobov 45, Inc. Brooklyn NY".
  21. ^ "BDE: Harav Mendel Gross, Menahel of Bobov-45 Mesivta". November 3, 2017.
  22. ^ "Bobov-45 readies for ceremony This Sunday celebrating the re-dedication of massive 150,000 s.f. school building in Borough Park". Boro Park 24. Feb 16, 2019.
  23. ^ "Bobov 45 (BP) Day Camp Song '16 on Vimeo". June 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "Today, is the wedding of a granddaughter of The Bobov-45 Rebbe Shlita ..." "Bobov 45 Wedding – Furshpeil". BoroPark24. May 27, 2018.