Kashau (Hasidic dynasty)
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Kashau (קאשוי) (also often spelled, as pronounced by most Ashkenazic Jews, Kasho) is a hasidic dynasty, named after its origin from Kassa (Košice). It was led till December 2018 by Grand Rabbi Eleizer Chaim Blum. Kashau institutions are presently located in Williamsburg, Monsey, and Bedford Hills in New York State. Followers of the Kashau Rebbe live in other Jewish centers around the world.
Rav Shaul Brach
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Rav Shaul Brach (1865-1940) was born in the town of Nitra, and was renowned as one of the greatest Torah Sages of his day, expert in all areas of Torah. He was also fiercely opposed to Zionism, which he denounced emphatically.
Reb Refuel Blum
The Kashau Rebbe, Reb Refuel Blum, was born in the town of Kassa (Kasho), Kingdom of Hungary (today in Slovakia) and was a Talmid (pupil/student/disciple) from Rav Shaul Brach (d. 1940), Rosh Av Beis Din, and Rosh Yeshiva of Kashau, and formerly of Magendorf and of Kruleh. R’ Rafuel Blum learned in R Shaul Brach's yeshiva for twenty-five Zmanim (semesters) thereby making R’ Shaul Brach his Rebbe Muvhak and role model. He constantly sought the advice of his Rav. Prior to World War II, the Rav, Rabbi Blum established a Yeshiva in Mihalowitz.
Surviving the Holocaust, the Rebbe was liberated from the Nazis on January 18, 1945 in the town of Arad, Romania and in the summer of 1945 returned to Kasho where he was the driving force behind reestablishing the Jewish community. Together with other Rabbanim, the Rebbe participated in assisting more than 200 agunos (married woman whose husband's whereabouts is unknown) allowing them to remarry.
In 1948 the Rebbe arrived in Brooklyn, New York and began the work of transferring his Yeshiva from Kashau. Shortly afterwards, the Rebbe was appointed rosh yeshiva of the Tzelemer Yeshiva "Arugas Habosem". At that time, the Rebbe founded Kehillas Kashau in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1962 to establish a community in Morris County, N.J. the Rav purchased a property in Irvington, N.Y. (Westchester County) where he reestablished his Yeshiva.
In 1977, after a fire destroyed the Irvington property, the Rav acquired the Hillcrest Center for Children in Bedford Hills, NY and established Kahal Adas Kasho.
The village is known as Kiryas Kashau today.
Reb Refuel Blum died on Tue. March 1, 2005 - 20 Adar I 5765, and was buried in the Khal Adas Kasho Cemetery in Bedford Hills.
Rabbi Eleizer Chaim Blum
The Rebbe was born in Kashau. When he was six years old, he and his brother were saved from the Nazis as part of the Kasztner transport that saved the Satmar Rebbe. His father, the previous Rebbe, was not on the transport, but every person on the transport was allowed to take two children with them, so his father asked someone who was childless to take his two oldest sons. The train was held up in Bergen-Belsen for six months while the Nazis demanded more money. He said that although he didn't meet the Satmar Rebbe there because he was held in a different barracks, he did remember hearing from people that the Satmar Rebbe was with them. After the train arrived in Switzerland, the man who took him on the transport took him along to New York, and then his father followed after the war.
As a boy in New York, he learned in the Tzelemer cheder, and his father became the rosh yeshivah of the Tzelemer yeshivah. After some time, the Stropkover Rebbe told his father to leave Tzelem and open his own yeshivah. The previous Kashau Rav was very close with Stropkov, because the first Stropkover Rebbe lived in Kashau at the end of his life and influenced him to become a chasid and accept chasidishe hanhagos. After he finished cheder, the Rebbe learned by his father.
As a child of five years of age he already knew the entire Tehillim by heart. When he was a child his father once took him to the Belzer Rav, Rav Aharon. The Belzer Rav was known to not give his hand to children. If he had to shake the hand of a child, he would cover his hand with a towel. However, when Rav Eliezer Chaim walked in, he shook his hand directly. It was clear that the Belzer Rav saw that he had a holy neshamah (soul) and didn't need to shake his hand with a mechitzah.
The Rebbe was the rosh yeshivah and his father was the Rebbe. He would travel every day from his home in New Square, where he lived because he had young children and wanted them to go to cheder there. His father and most of his family lived in Irvington along with a few other families. As rosh yeshivah, he was very strict when it came to principles, but when one became close with him, one saw how caring he was. He was an eish kodesh; he had so much hartz and love for everyone.
The Rebbe has authored several books.[which?]
- "Kasho Rav in Boro Park," by Gershon Tannenbaum. The Jewish Press. June 13, 2007.
- "Remembering the Kashau Rav, zt”l / /A Hidden TzadDik, An Open Loss". Ami magazine
- "Petira of the Kashau Rov, HaRav Eliezer Chaim Blum ZATZAL". Dec 15, 2018.
- "The Kashau Rov zt”l". Matzav.com. Dec 15, 2018.
- "BD'E – Petirah of Kashau Rav Harav Eliezer Chaim Blum Zt”l". Dec 15, 2018.
- "The Kashau Rav, Zt”l Harav Eliezer Chaim Blum". Hamodia.com. Dec 16, 2018.