Rabbi Shmaryahu Yosef Nissim Karelitz (Hebrew: נסים קרליץ; July 19, 1926 – October 21, 2019) was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and posek who served as the chairman of the beis din tzedek (rabbinical court) of Bnei Brak. His rabbinical court handled all kinds of matters, including financial disputes, marriage conflicts, and conversions. He was also a member of the Vaad Halacha (Jewish legal council) of the Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital of Bnei Brak[dead link] and the av beis din of the Bnei Brak neighborhood of Ramat Aharon.
Karelitz was born in 1926 in Kosava (Kossov), Vilnius province, Poland, presently in Belarus. He came to Israel in 1935 with his parents.
Karelitz was a nephew of Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz, known as the Chazon Ish. (The latter's sister was Karelitz's mother). The Chazon Ish was a previous rabbinical spiritual leader of Bnei Brak. From the time of the Chazon Ish until Karelitz it was Rav Elazar Shach who was regarded as the pre-eminent leader.
In his youth, he studied in the Ponevezh Yeshiva. He also studied with his uncles, the Chazon Ish and the Steipler. His wife Leah (d. 2015) was the daughter of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kopshitz of Jerusalem and the great-granddaughter of Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld.
Rav Karelitz died in Bnei Brak on October 21, 2019. His funeral by tens of thousands (according to https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/roads-closed-to-traffic-in-central-israel-as-rabbi-nissim-karelitz-laid-to-rest-1.8014570). He was eulogized by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, his first cousin, and by Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh.
Karelitz's beit din in Israel performs conversions on people who are residing illegally in the state of Israel. This means several things: (1) The conversion process goes against Israeli law which gives the state more reason to reject such conversions. (2) The converts, who often live many years illegally in Israel, are eventually forced to leave (deportation, or due to lack of financial means to support oneself).
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- Frankfurter, Yitzchok (12 May 2013). Ami (119): 75–76. Missing or empty
- "Rebitzen Leah Karelitz A"H". Yeshiva World News. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Mandel, Jonah (13 January 2011). "Bnei Brak rabbi accused of arranging illicit conversions". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
- "High Court nixes citizenship for 5 foreign nationals who converted outside Rabbinate". The Times of Israel. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
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