Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer

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Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer
Grand Rebbes.jpg
Grand Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer (right) with Grand Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke Leifer of Chust (USA)
TitleThird Pittsburger Rebbe
Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer

December 31, 1955
SpouseMiriam Liebes
Jewish leader
PredecessorAvraham Abba Leifer
Main workPisgamei Oraisa

Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer is the third and current Rebbe of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty. Since succeeding his father, Grand Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer, as Rebbe in 1990, he has expanded the Hasidic presence in Ashdod, Israel with new schools and institutions, and increased the number of Pittsburger families to 100 in Ashdod. He also shepherds Pittsburg Hasidim in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Hilkia, New York City and California.[1] He and his Rebbetzin, who speak English, Hebrew and Yiddish, have a personal relationship with each member of the Hasidut.

Early life[edit]

Leifer is the son of Grand Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer and the grandson of Grand Rabbi Yosef Leifer, the founder of the Hasidut in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1924. Leifer was named after his great-grandfather, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Ber (Bertche) Leifer of Navordna-Satmar, and his great-great grandfather, Rabbi Mordechai of Nadvorna. He traces his paternal ancestry back to Grand Rabbi Meir the Great of Premishlan, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.

He was born in Newark, New Jersey, where his father taught Torah and Hasidut and eventually founded a Hasidic yeshiva there.[1]

Move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[edit]

In 1966, after the death of his grandfather, who served the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, religious community for more than four decades, his father accepted the invitation of the Pittsburgh congregation to succeed his father as Rebbe.

In 1970, his father moved to Ashdod, Israel. He learned in Monsey, Sanz (in Netanya), and then in Lakewood.

Leifer married Miriam Liebes in New York. His wife is the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik Liebes, av beis din of the Iggud Harabbanim (Rabbinical Alliance) of America.[2]

In 1982, his father opened a yeshiva in Ashdod and requested that Leifer come to Israel and lead the yeshiva. He arrived with his family and in addition to leading the yeshiva, he assisted his father in opening Torah institutions and bringing secular Jews back to Torah and mitzvos.

When his father died on January 6, 1990 (10 Tevet 5750), Leifer acceded to the leadership of the Pittsburgh Hasidim. He is one of several Hasidic Rebbes living in Ashdod; the others are the Tolna Rebbe, the Neshchiz Rebbe, and the Melitzer Rebbe.

Current activities[edit]

Leifer presides over the Pittsburg educational system which includes a cheder with over 300 students, two yeshivas with 90 students, and a halacha kollel, Gemara kollel, early-morning kollel and night kollel for married men.[1]

Notable Alumni of the Pittsburg Yeshiva include Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg, Nadvorna-Kechnia Rebbe, and cousin to the Pittsburger Rebbe.[3]

The Hasidut has also attracted formerly non-observant Jews through the Rebbe's shiurim (classes), tishen and personal interaction. Pittsburgher families and institutions are concentrated in the Rova Gimel and Rova Zayin (third and seventh quarters) neighborhoods of Ashdod.

Like his father before him, Leifer leads exuberant tishen on Friday nights and after the Shabbat morning meal, as well as a Seudah Shlishit which goes late into the night accompanied by the Rebbe's words of mussar.[1] Pittsburg is also famous for its heartfelt nigguin, many of which have been composed by the present Rebbe. These niggunim are sung both within the Hasidut and at the tishen of other Rebbes, and have been recorded on musical albums.[4]

Rebbes of Pittsburg[edit]

  1. Yosef Leifer, the Tzidkas Yosef (1891–1961)
  2. Avraham Abba Leifer (1918–1990)
  3. Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer


  1. ^ a b c d "Overview of Pittsburgh: A Warm Hasidic Community in Ashdod, Israel". Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Klass, Rabbi Yaakov (November 26, 2008). "Q & A: Dismissal of a Rabbi (Part I)". The Jewish Press. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  3. ^ Herzig, Gur Aryeh (April 10, 2013). "Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg Galvanizes Global Audiences" (PDF). Hamodia. Retrieved May 20, 2014. Later he traveled to Eretz Yisrael and learned in the yeshivah of his cousin, the Pittsburgher Rebbe of Ashdod. From there he went on to the Mirrer Yeshivah in Yerushalayim.
  4. ^ Venafshi by Pittsburg Archived May 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Mostly

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