Mayer S. Khakhmei Yisroel of New England: Pictorial
History of the New England Orthodox Rabbinate. Worcester, MA: Nathan Stolnitz Archives, 1991.
- Ashkenazi, Shlomoh. Dorot Beyisrael. Don, 1975.(H)
Azulai, Chayyim Josef David (the Khidah/CHIDA, 1724-1806). Shem HaGedolim
(Fame of the Great Rabbis). Livorno, 1774.
Short biographical information
on 1,500 selected rabbis over a wide period of time, and with no
apparent criteria for inclusion. Brief genealogical information. The
books comprise two sections: alphabetical biographies and lists of the
books authored by the rabbis. The book list is useful to identify
rabbis who may be referred to in other sources by the name of their
composition alone. [Comment by Chaim
In 1852, Isaac Benjacob rearranged this work into two parts, an
alphabetic listing of all authors and a separate sorted listing of all
the works. This arrangement enables the reader to find information
offered by Azulai for a specific author or work under a single
entry. This book is helpful to the genealogist when trying to find the
author of a given book, or vice versa. [David
See also: Walden, Shem HaGedolim HeKhadash.
Learn more about the author and this
- Beilinsohn, Moshe Eliezer. Megilat Yukhsin, Shlomei Emunei Yisrael. Odessa, 1863,
A series of booklets providing very detailed genealogical material for
mainly Belarus rabbinical families. Arranged as coded lists or as box
charts. Since the author included all the members of a family known to
him, this is a valuable source not only for rabbis, but also for their
non-rabbinic descendants. A rare and exceedingly valuable source which may
be difficult to locate. Principle families include Heilprin, Luria,
Beilinson, Katz, Maharal
of Prague, Raskin, Gunzburg, Mirkin, Rozenberg, Reichenstein, Dubnov,
Tumarkin, Vilda, Kisin, Alexandrov, Margolis, Simchovitch, Ettinger,
Brauda, Sirkin, Frumkin, Kazarnovsky, Freides, Zeitlin. [Comment by Chaim
- Braverman, M. Anshei
Shem. Warsaw, 1892.(H)
Biographies of selected
rabbis arranged alphabetically by Hebrew first name until the letter Lamed. [Comment by Chaim
Cohen, Yitskhak Yosef. Khakhmei Transylvania (Sages of Transylvania). Tel
Aviv, 1983. (H)
Community and biographic
information. A source recommended by Rabbi Meir Wunder. [Comment by Chaim
- Dembitzer, Rabbi Chayim
Natan. Klilath Yofi. Krakow, 1888, 1893. (H)
It professes to describe the rabbis of Lviv (Lwow, Lemberg), but encompasses all the rabbis related and connected in
one way or another with the rabbis of Lviv, a total of some
30,000 rabbis. It is for the experienced reader who has
mastered rabbinic language. Most reliable. It contains a good alphabetic
list of the rabbis by their given name. It was reprinted in
1968 in New York by HaMachon l’Cheker Baayoth
HaYahaduth HaCharedith and edited by Rabbi Yakov Dov Mandelboim. [Comment by Dr.
When it was first published it was
reviewed by none other than Solomon Schechter. Although he disagreed with some vehemence on some of Dembitzer's
opinions, he pointed out that it is an extremely useful and important work.
As an example of how much more was there than merely related to Lviv (Lwow,
Lemberg), he observed that it has a complete
listing of the rabbis of Amsterdam. I have also found an extensive
discussion there of the Vienna exiles of 1675, including correspondence with
Professor David Kauffman of Budapest who was a major expert on the topic.
[Comment by Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein]
Learn more about the author.
Efrati, David. Toldot Anshei Shem. Warsaw, 1875.(H)
One of the earliest nineteenth
century rabbinical genealogies. Traces the descendants of a number of prominent
rabbis and provides copious notes with interconnecting genealogical material.
Unindexed, merits lengthy and careful study. The book is arranged as a main
text entitled Arzei Banim (Cedars
of the Sons), with extensive footnotes entitled Ateret
Zekeinim (Crown of the Elders). In the main text the author records
five primogenitors of his major ancestral lines: Yehuda Yesod of Vilna, Yom Tov Heller Tosfot
Yom Tov, Yehudah Leib Maharal of
Prague, Moshe Kremer of Vilna, and
Shaul Wahl-Katzenellenbogen. Each of these five lines is expanded in the
footnotes which list all descendants traced by the author. These notes, which
are printed in Rashi script, provide a considerable volume of details, clearly
listing sons and sons-in-law with their subsequent descendants, including
places of residence. In the main no dates are given. Since Efrati’s work was
written comparatively early, it can be considered a primary source of later
works, such as Daat Kedoshim,
which further expanded these families. The major families include: Ashkenazi,
Berlin, Efrati, Eizenstadt, Eliasberg, Eliash, Epstein, Gaon of Vilna, Gunzburg,
Heller, Horowitz, Katz, Katzenellenbogen, Klausner, Landau, Levin, Lipshutz,
Luria, Maharal of Prague, Mirels, Rapaport, Ratner, Rivlin, Simchovitch,
Shapira, Shick, Shneurson, Teumim, Vitkind, and Zukerman, with connections to many
other living particularly in Eastern Europe. Additional notes by Efrati include
sources located after publication which expand particularly the
Katzenellenbogen family. Some brief biographical material is unique. This is a
highly recommended source requiring painstaking study of the many footnotes. [Comment by Chaim
Efrati, Eliezer. Dor
Vedorshav. Vilna, 1889.(H)
Yisrael. Shevet mi-Yehudah: Nerot neshamah li-yeme
zikaron ule-et-sefod li-shelumei-emunei-Yisrael mi-dor-dor. Tel Aviv: Hotsa’at
- The surname index refers to the book’s listings of rabbis
and their yahrzeit, or death date.
rabanav ve-sofrav. Warsaw-Vilna: Halter-Eisenstadt,
- Doroth ha-aharonim. A. H.
Rosenberg, 1913-15, 1936-41.(H)
- Khakhmei Yisrael Beamerica. (H)
A series of books comprising
rabbinical biographies, mainly in Europe and America. There is a
reprinted version in which the individual books have been bound
together. [Comment by Chaim
Benzion. Otsar ha-temunot (A Treasury of Photographs). New
York: Pinsky, 1915. (H)
- Entsiklopediyah ha-Hasidut.
Jerusalem: Mosad Harav Kook, 1980-1986. Vol. 1-2. (H)
- Vol. 1 is a bibliography of books by Hasidic authors,
while Vol. 2 consists of brief but documented sketches of rebbes. Discontinued after reaching the Hebrew letter
in the alphabetic order, which is by first names.
- Federbusch, S. (ed.). Khokhmat
Yisrael be-maarav Eyropa. Jerusalem: M. Neuman 1958-65.
3 Vols. Jerusalem: Mosad ha-Rav Kook, 1980-1986.(H)
- Freedman, Chaim. Beit Rabbanan: Sources of Rabbinic Genealogy.
Petah Tikva, Israel: self-published, 2001. (E)
A survey of 130 Hebrew sources for rabbinical genealogical research,
including sections on methodology, terminology, and historical and
sociological background of rabbinic genealogy.
Friedman, Rabbi Natan Tsvi. Otsar HaRabanim (A
Treasury of Rabbis). Tel Aviv: M. Greenberg Printing Press, 1975. (H)
An anthology of about 20,000
rabbis over the period 970-1970 C.E. Although the book includes a
considerable number of rabbis and scholars, and it may be assumed that
the author made every effort to trace the rabbis mentioned in many
sources, the names of some rabbis are omitted. There appears to be no
discernible pattern to these omissions and it can be assumed that the
author was not able to exhaustively cover all sources. Each entry is
coded for the rabbi in question, his father, father-in-law, sons and
sons-in-law. Cross reference enables the construction of family trees.
Otsar HaRabanim is a good first reference work. It points to a
direction for research. But one must realize that not only does it
omit people, it has errors. It is notorious for confusing people
bearing the same name. One can trace an ancestry line back through its
reference numbers and end up at the same place one started. These
circular pathways are well known to researchers. Although it has an
index, the alphabetical order is not strictly adhered to which
necessitates a complete scan of the index to ensure that a person is
not missed. [Comment by Chaim
- Fuenn, Shemuel
Josef. Kneset Yisrael. Warsaw: Baumritter, 1886. (H)
Shemu’el Noah ben Dov-Ber. Sefer Ohalei Shem: yekhalkel
toldotehem ve-adres’otehem shel rabanei ir va-ir, medinah u-medinah. Pinsk: M. M.
Glauberman, 1912. (Reprinted Jerusalem: Tefutsah, 1983?) (H)
A unique book whose structure
is based on biographies of rabbis (1,500 of them) who held rabbinical
positions at the time of the writing of the book in 1912. Arranged by
country and city, each entry includes genealogical and source material
for further research. Most of the information was supplied to the
author by the rabbis themselves in reply to the author’s request for
information. As a result the volume and quality of the material varies
considerably. An essential source to be considered in all rabbinical
genealogical research. [Comment by Chaim
Avraham. Rabanei Berit ha-Mo'atsot ben milhamot ha-'olam, 1917-1939 (Rabbis
of the Soviet Union During the Inter-war Period). Jerusalem: The
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Centre for Research and
Documentation of East European Jewry, 1994.(H)
- Meant to add new material to the
burgeoning study of Soviet Jewry and to show how rabbis
functioned under persecution. [F4]
- Hakohen/Kohn, Naftali Yaakov (1884-). Otsar Hagedolim
Alufei Yaakov. 1966-1969.(H)
- Rabbi Meir Wunder's description and review of this book was published in Yad
Lekoreh 9, 1969, booklet D, pp.193-195. [Comment by Chaim
- Halahmi, David. Hakhmei Yisrael: toldot hayehem shel
gedole Yisrael ba-elef hashishi (Encyclopedia of Distinguished Jews during the Last Generations). 3d ed.
Bnei Brak: Mishor, 1990.
- First published in
1958 and since then reprinted twice. It includes rabbis and rebbes (Hasidic leaders) from 1240 on, in
chronological order by death dates. Includes 1,500 persons
who fit his criteria, with short but useful biographical
sketches and, where possible, dates of birth and death. His
purpose is to show continuity and to rescue these teachers
from oblivion after the destruction of their communities. [F4]
Halperin (Heilprin), Rafael. Atlas ets-hayim (Atlas of the Tree
of Life). Tel Aviv: Hekdesh Ruah
1980-1985. Vol. 1-14. (published progressively) (H)
covering the period from Biblical times until the present. Groups
rabbis by country/region and scholastic affiliation. The information
is presented in several ways, lists with short biographies, graphic
charts showing each rabbi in relation to his major teacher, and
familial connections. There are lists of the books authored by the
rabbis, a most useful means of identifying rabbis who may be referred
to in other sources simply by the title of their composition. Each
volume has separate genealogical charts for selected families. A very
handy reference work, although the charts are often difficult to
follow. [Comment by Chaim
- Heilprin, Yekhiel. Seder Hadorot. Warsaw, 1862; Jerusalem, 1956.(H)
Extensive anthology of rabbis and scholars from
biblical times. Includes genealogical information but rarely beyond two to
three generations. [Comment by Chaim
- Heimann, Joseph
Michael. Or ha-khayyim. Frankfort: J. Kauffmann, 1891.(H)
Kagan, Berl. Sefer Haprenumeranten (Hebrew Subscription Lists).
Jewish Theological Seminary of America and KTAV, 1975.
Berel Kagan’s Sefer Haprenumeranten, known in English as Hebrew
Subscription Lists, is an index by town of about eight hundred books covering eight thousand towns.
Prenumeranten is a Yiddish term meaning “prior numbers”. It refers to people who ordered copies of a book before its
publication and whose names were listed in the book. Lists exist for most towns in Europe.
Subscribers from small villages often were listed under the name of the nearest larger community. Genealogists seeking
prenumeranten lists will find them primarily in old religious Hebrew books. Since the
names are grouped by town and because the books were published at various times, a cross section of these communities is visible at different times.
There are limitations to the usefulness of these lists and careful interpretation is essential.
Prenumeranten lists are valuable for rabbinical genealogical research as the rabbis of particular communities often occupied
a prominent position in the lists. Since the lists appear in rabbinical compositions, the introductions and title pages usually include genealogical
information about the author’s family, some of whom may be included among the
prenumeranten. [Comment by Chaim
- Kahana, Samuel Zanvil. Anaf Ets Avoth: Der Bekannten Jüdischen Familien: Horowitz, Heilpern,
Rappaport, Margulies, Schorr, Kaznelnbogen. Krakow: Josef Fischer,
1903.(probably reprinted 1998).(H)
Very detailed genealogical
tables of prominent rabbinical families. Arranged with cross
referenced codes to indicate relationships. Detailed notes with
biographical material and sources. A precise source which is usually
accurate. [Comment by Chaim
- Has a
partial genealogy of a number of rabbinic families and ends with an
entry stating the descent of Solomon Shapiro, ABD Heilbron, from Rashi and
from King David. [Comment by David Einsiedler, F3]
Lewin, Y. Eleh Ezkerah.
New York: Research Institute of Religious Jewry, 1956-1972. 7 Vols. (H)
of biographies of 368 rabbis who perished in the Holocaust. Includes
genealogical information and photographs. [Comment by Chaim
Liberman, Yosef. Shalshelet HaYochasin. Jerusalem, 1978. (H)
- Lippe, Chaim
David. Bibliographisches Lexikon. Wien, 1881-89, 1899. (G)
- Markovitch, Moshe. Shem Hagedolim Hashlishi. Vilna, 1910.(H)
Biographies of 277 rabbis
whose names begin with Alef. Concentrates mainly on Lithuanian and Belarus
rabbis, for many of whom this
may be the only source of information. Rabbi Meir Wunder advised that a large manuscript of the author’s work is held by
the manuscripts department of the National Library, the Hebrew University,
Jerusalem, Israel. [Comment by Chaim
- Mirsky, S. K.
(ed.). Ishim u-demuyot be-khokhmat Yisrael be-Eyropa ha-mizrahit lifnei
shekiatah. New York: Ogen, 1959. (H)
Reines, Moshe. Dor ve-khakhamav. Krakow: J. Fischer 1890. (H)
- Reisen, Zalman. Leksikon fun der yidisher
literatur, prese un filologiye. Vilna: B. Klatzkin
1926-1929. 4 Vols. (Y)
- Rosenstein, Neil and Dov Weber. Avnei Zikaron: Stones of Remembrance.
Elizabeth, NJ: Computer Center for Jewish
Genealogy, 1999. (E)
- 921 pre-WWI Eastern European epitaphs from 51 communities with
20 genealogical charts. Detailed database of all burials of rabbis, cantors, community leaders, wives, and other prominent personalities. Includes
CD-ROM containing handwritten Hebrew epitaphs as originally transcribed by the pre-WWI compiler.
Rosenstein, Neil and Emanuel Rosenstein. Latter
Day Leaders, Sages and Scholars. Elizabeth, NJ: Computer
Center for Jewish Genealogy, 1983. (E)
- A bibliographic index of more than 5,500 rabbis from the
18th to early 20th centuries compiled from such noted books as
Ohalei Shem, Eleh Ezkerah, etc. Numerous indexes include given name, surname and town. Each entry cites its source which can then be utilized to glean detailed information about the individual. [Comment by Chaim
Shapira, Yaakov Leib. Mishpakhot Atikot Beyisrael. Tel Aviv,
Israel: 1981. (H)
Traces the ancestry and
principal descendants of the classical rabbinical families commencing
with Rashi. Summary charts are followed by detailed biographical
information about each successive generation and its marital
connections. Aside from its genealogical value, this book is an
excellent and concise summary of rabbinical biography. [Comment by Chaim
- Shechter-Cohen, Elazar. Kenet Sofrim. Lemberg, 1892.(H)
Abraham. Sefer melitsei esh: kolel toldot tahalukhot ve-kurot
haye gedole yisrael. New York: Grosman, 1962. 1974. (H)
Three volumes include
about 2,000 rabbis arranged by date of yahrzeit with an alphabetical index.
Includes useful biographical and genealogical information. [Comment by Chaim
Check Ehrlikh first for the yahrzeit. (cf: Ehrlikh,
Yisrael. Shevet mi-Yehudah)
Stern, Yechiel Michal (ed.). Gidolei Hadoros. Israel: Minchas
Yisroel. 3 Vol. (H)
Bernhard. Die Inschriften Des Alten Judenfriedhofes in Wien. 2 Vol. (G)
- Wachstein, B. Mafteakh Hahespedim (Index to Eulogies). 1924.
Walden, Aaron (ca.1835-1912). Shem HaGedolim HeKhadash (Fame of
the Great Ones).
Warsaw, 1879. (H)
- It consists of two parts: (1) "Ma'areket Gedolim," being an alphabetical list of the names of authors and rabbis, mostly those that lived after Azulai, but including also many of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who were omitted by Azulai; and (2) "Ma'areket Sefarim," an alphabetical list of book-titles. Walden himself says in his preface that he took
Azulai's Shem ha-Gedolim as a model; and it is evident that he refers to Benjacob's edition of that work. It must be said that the alphabetical list in the first part is arranged only according to the first names of the persons mentioned. In many instances the names are accompanied by biographical sketches, especially of Hasidic rabbis, whose biographies contain records of the miracles wrought by them and in behalf of them. To the third edition of the work, published in 1882 by Walden's son Joseph Aryeh Loeb, the latter added an appendix entitled "'En Zoker," containing names and book-titles omitted in the two previous editions.
[from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1901-1906]
- A continuation of the pioneering work of Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai,
the CHIDA. [F5]
- Wunder, Meir. Meorei Galicia: Encyclopedia Lekhakhmei Galicia (Encyclopedia of Galician Sages). Vol. 1-5. Jerusalem: The Institute for the Commemoration of Galician Jewry, 1978-1997. (H,E) (in Hebrew, with a table of contents in English)
Five volumes of extensively
detailed genealogies of Galician rabbinical families, arranged
alphabetically by surname. Most family sections include a genealogical
chart. For prominent rabbis of each family biographical material is
included, in particular rabbinical compositions, responsa
correspondence and photographs. Updated information of current
generations. Many sources quoted for each family as well as extensive
bibliography. This impressive and scholarly work is the most extensive
and reliable source of rabbinical genealogy written in the twentieth
century. [Comment by Chaim
See: Indexes to Meorei
Galicia for more than 1,350 surnames and 324 cities, towns, and
shtetls found in Meorei Galicia.
review of Meorei Galicia.
- Yevnin, Levi. Nakhalat
Avot. Vilna, 1894.(H)
Capsule biographies of
83 rabbis with useful genealogical information. Arranged
alphabetically by Hebrew first-name. [Comment by Chaim
- Zarski, S.Z. Anshei Shem, Toldot Anshei Shem (Men
of Renown). Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1940-1941. New York 1950. 2
- A source recommended by Rabbi Meir Wunder. [Comment by Chaim
- World lexicon of rabbis.
4Information on rabbinical genealogy
published on the Internet may be found separately in the extensive
Links section of the Rav-SIG web site. See: Links
1. All comments by Chaim
Freedman are from his book, Beit
Rabbanan: Sources of Rabbinic Genealogy.
Petah Tikva, Israel: self-published, 2001. Used with permission.
2. All comments by Chaim
Freedman are from his book, Beit
Rabbanan: Sources of Rabbinic Genealogy.
Petah Tikva, Israel: self-published, 2001. Used with permission. Rabbi Meir Wunder's
review of this book was originally published in Yad Lekoreh 15, 1976,
booklet B, pp. 107-109. (Return)
3. Einsiedler, David. "Are
You a Descendant of King David? A Look at Rabbinic Sources." Roots-Key:
Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles. Spring, 1988.
look at Rabbinic biographical dictionaries published since 1950.
5. Wunder, Meir. "The
Reliability of Genealogical Research in Modern Rabbinic Literature."
Avotaynu: The International
Review of Jewish Genealogy. Winter, 1995. (Return)
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