Bobov Hasidim

Bobov Hasidim (Yiddish: Bobover chasidim) – Hasidic dynasty founded by one of the grandsons of Tzaddik Chaim Halberstam of Sanz (Nowy Sącz), Shlomo (1847–1906).

He was raised and educated in the home of his grandfather. He served as rabbi in Oświęcim and Wisznica, and went on to become the tutor of many outstanding rabbis. As a member of the delegation to the Austrian Ministry of Education, he protested against imposing the obligation of secular education on Jews. In the late 19th century, he settled in the small town of Bobowa in Lesser Poland, which at the time belonged to the Dlugoszewski family. There, he founded a yeshiva which attracted many pupils.

During the interwar period, the Bobov Hasidim were one of the most influential Hasidic dynasties. Tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews would travel to Bobowa for major holidays. The Bobov dynasty followed the teachings of Tzaddik Chaim Halberstam of Sanz (Nowy Sącz), emphasising the importance of Talmudic studies and a modest, almost ascetic, lifestyle. Shlomo Halberstam was succeeded by his son, Ben Zion (1874–1941), who founded 16 yeshivot in the area of Lesser Poland. He was famous for his musical talent, and wrote many songs. He was involved in politics and actively participated in the community life. He organised help for Polish Jews expelled from Germany in 1938, put in a camp in Zbąszyn by the Polish government. His philanthropic activities came to be legendary. He was also famous for the boisterous weddings he gave his daughters.

Him and many of his family members were killed in Lviv in July 1941, after the Germans entered the city. Ben Zion’s successor was his son, Shlomo (b. 1908), who had managed to leave Poland during World War II. He settled in New York and founded a yeshiva there. Houses of prayer run by the Bobov Hasidim continue to operate in London, Jerusalem, Antwerp, Toronto, and Montreal.

Hanna Węgrzynek

The entry was originally published on the Diapozytyw portal, previously owned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It is an excerpt from the book Historia i kultura Żydów polskich. Słownik by Alina Cała, Hanna Węgrzynek, and Gabriela Zalewska, published by the WSiP.

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