David Hollander (rabbi)

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David B. Hollander (1913–2009) was an American Rabbi, and president of The Rabbinical Council of America from 1954–1956, and at the time of his death, was the longest active Rabbi in America.[1]


Rabbi Hollander was born in Hungary in 1913 to Rabbi Jonathan Benjamin and Rachel Hollander.[2] At age 9, he and his family, immigrated to NY.

He received his Rabbinic ordination and law degree from Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon (Yeshiva University).[2]

In 1943 he was elected Rabbi of Mount Eden Jewish Center in The Bronx, and remained the Rabbi until its closing in 1980. When the synagogue closed he forfeited months of back-pay so the building would not be sold to a church. The building was demolished in 2005 and a new apartment building constructed in its place in 2006 (source: Save Our Synagogues.org) He was vice president of The Rabbinical Council of America, and in 1954 he was elected president.[2]

He considered retiring when the Mount Eden Jewish Center closed, however, he was persuaded to continue in the rabbinate by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who told him "I am older than you are, and I am taking on additional burdens. By what right do you retire?"[3] With the help of Rabbi Paul M. Fleischman, he became the rabbi of the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach synagogue at 2915 Brighton 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY.[4]

In 2003, he became the oldest active pulpit rabbi and continued in that capacity until his death six years later.[3][5]

He was a columnist for many decades, writing both in Yiddish in The Algemeiner Journal and in English In The Jewish Press. He was also a widely quoted, albeit sometimes controversial, speaker.[6]

He did not leave behind any children. His wife of 61 years, Mrs. Fay Hollander,[7] died a little over a year after him. He was survived by a brother in Israel.

Soviet Jewry[edit]

In 1956 he made his first visit to the former Soviet Union,[2] bringing hundreds of prayer books and encouraging the Jews living under Soviet persecution there. he made 5 subsequent visits to Russia.[5]

He was a regular speaker at Soviet Jewry rallies, and following a merger in the 1990s of the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton Beach with Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe (F.R.E.E), the majority of his congregants were from FSU (Former Soviet Union) countries.[1][3]

See also[edit]