Pittsburg (Hasidic dynasty)

Pittsburg (Hasidic dynasty)

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Pittsburg is a Hasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 dynasty founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

 in 1924 by Rabbi Yosef Leifer
Yosef Leifer
Yosef Leifer was the first Rebbe and founder of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he led for 42 years...

, a Hungarian rabbi and descendant of Rabbi Mordechai of Nadvorna
Mordechai of Nadvorna
Rabbi Mordechai Leifer was the son of Rabbi Yesochor Bertche Leifer , author of Sisrei Torah, and a great-great-grandson of Rabbi Meir "The Great" of Premishlan....

. This is one of the few Hasidic dynasties named after an American city (others are Boston
Boston (Hasidic dynasty)
Boston is a Hasidic sect, originally established in 1915 by Grand Rabbi Pinchas Duvid Horowitz. Following the custom of European Chassidic Courts, where the Rebbe was called after the name of his city, Bostoner Chassidus was named after Boston, Massachusetts...

, Cleveland
Cleveland (Hasidic dynasty)
There are two Hasidic Jewish dynasties known as Cleveland and both are considered to be a part of the Nadvorna dynasty.- History of the Clevelander New York dynasty:...

, Milwaukee and Philadelphia).

After flourishing in America for 46 years, the Hasidut was relocated to the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod under the leadership of Rabbi Yosef Leifer's son and successor, Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer
Avraham Abba Leifer
Avraham Abba Leifer was the second Rebbe of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty and the instigator for the relocation of the Hasidut from its original location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod...

. Today the Hasidut is led by Rabbi Avraham Abba's son, Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer
Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer
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...

, who presides over a nucleus of about 100 Pittsburger families in Ashdod as well as families in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Hilkia
Beit Hilkia
Beit Hilkia is an ultra-orthodox moshav in central Israel. Located in the Shephelah near Gedera, it falls under the jurisdiction of Nahal Sorek Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 470....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. Owing to the small size of the Hasidut, each member has a personal relationship with the Rebbe and Rebbetzin, who speak English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

.

Torah institutions


When Rabbi Avraham Abba Leifer moved the Hasidut to the Israeli city of Ashdod in 1970, the city had hardly any religious residents and no Torah schools, aside from the Grodno Yeshiva for high-school-age boys. Thanks to the decades-long efforts of Rabbi Avraham Abba and his son and successor, Rabbi Mordechai Yissachar Ber, Pittsburg now operates a cheder
Cheder
A Cheder is a traditional elementary school teaching the basics of Judaism and the Hebrew language.-History:...

 with over 300 students, two yeshivas with 90 students, and several kollel
Kollel
A kollel is an institute for full-time, advanced study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature. Like a yeshiva, a kollel features shiurim and learning sedarim ; unlike a yeshiva, the student body of a kollel are all married men...

s for married men. The Hasidut has also attracted formerly non-observant Jews through the Rebbe's shiurim (classes), tishen
Tish (Hasidic celebration)
A tish , also spelled tisch, is a gathering of Hasidim around their Rebbe. It may consist of speeches on Torah subjects, singing of melodies known as niggunim and zemirot , with refreshments being served. Hasidim see it as a moment of great holiness...

and personal interaction. Pittsburger families are concentrated in Rova Zayin (the seventh quarter) of Ashdod.

Niggunim


Pittsburg is famous for its heartfelt niggunim
Nigun
A nigun or niggun is a form of Jewish religious song or tune sung by groups. It is vocal music, often with repetitive sounds such as "bim-bim-bam" or "ai-ai-ai!" instead of formal lyrics. Sometimes, Bible verses or quotes from other classical Jewish texts are sung repetitively to form a nigun...

, many of which were composed by the second and third Pittsburger Rebbes. These melodies are known throughout the world and are even sung at the tishen
Tish (Hasidic celebration)
A tish , also spelled tisch, is a gathering of Hasidim around their Rebbe. It may consist of speeches on Torah subjects, singing of melodies known as niggunim and zemirot , with refreshments being served. Hasidim see it as a moment of great holiness...

 of other Rebbes. One of the most famous is the tune for Ilan, Ilan, Bameh Avarechecha ("Tree, tree, with what can I bless you?"), which was written by the second Pittsburger Rebbe and first sung by the Rebbe at a brit milah
Brit milah
The brit milah is a Jewish religious circumcision ceremony performed on 8-day old male infants by a mohel. The brit milah is followed by a celebratory meal .-Biblical references:...

 ceremony in Bnei Brak on Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh
Rosh Chodesh or Rosh ḥodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the new moon. The new moon is marked by the day and hour that the new crescent is observed...

 Nisan
Nisan
Nisan is the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh month of the civil year, on the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian; in the Torah it is called the month of the Aviv, referring to the month in which barley was ripe. It is a spring month of 30 days...

 1977 — the first day of the month in which Jews traditionally recite a blessing over fruit trees. A fascinating story in connection with the niggun and the baby at the bris was printed in the English Hamodia
Hamodia
Hamodia is a Hebrew language daily newspaper, published in Jerusalem, Israel. A daily English language edition is also published in the United States, and weekly English-language editions in England and Israel. A weekly edition for French readers debuted in 2008. The U.S. version is the first...

 newspaper in 2006.

Rebbes of Pittsburg

  1. Yosef Leifer
    Yosef Leifer
    Yosef Leifer was the first Rebbe and founder of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which he led for 42 years...

    , the Tzidkas Yosef (1891–1966)
  2. Avraham Abba Leifer
    Avraham Abba Leifer
    Avraham Abba Leifer was the second Rebbe of the Pittsburg Hasidic dynasty and the instigator for the relocation of the Hasidut from its original location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod...

     (1918–1990)
  3. Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer
    Mordechai Yissachar Ber Leifer
    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...

    (b. )

External links