A Hasidic Leader Migrating to America: Egodocuments by Rabbi Joshua Heschel Rabinowitz of Monastyryshche (1860–1938)

In: Zutot
Gadi Sagiv The Open University of Israel Raʿanana Israel

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Egodocuments constitute valuable sources for the study of Hasidism. Yet those penned by hasidic leaders are relatively rare. This article explores egodocumentary material written by hasidic leader Joshua Heschel Rabinowitz of Monastyryshche (1860–1938), who was persecuted in Russia, migrated to America in 1923, and settled in New York. In contrast to the previous scholarship that focuses on Rabinowitz’s public opinions, this article centers on his personal notes. Moreover, rather than read Rabinowitz’s personal writings as reflecting his life and worldview in Eastern Europe from decades earlier, the egodocuments will be read as highlighting the challenges he faced during the years he wrote most of his works, namely, after migrating to the United States. Rabinowitz’s egodocuments not only teach us about him as an individual, but also shed light on the challenges that many admorim faced upon arrival to America between the two world wars.

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