June 10, 2021
Though Vilna was known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania, it hadn't had an official chief rabbi since a dispute about the position ended in 1791. As a result of the Polish government requiring the hiring of chief rabbi in the 1920's, the Vilna Jewish community council hired Rav Yitzchak Rubinstein (1880-1945) as the official chief rabbi of the city. He had served as the official 'Rav Mitaam' government rabbi since 1910, and was beloved by the community to his leadership and activism during the First World War.
This appointment was made despite the fact that Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski was the undisputed Torah leader in Vilna and across the Jewish world, as well as serving as the unofficial chief rabbi for decades. This led to a bitter dispute which was to have a lasting effect on the community, as well as the wider scope of inter Jewish politics.
The Chofetz Chaim protested on behalf of the honor of Rav Chaim Ozer, and other protests followed. Though the dispute eventually calmed down, resentment remained. Rabbi Rubinstein himself ultimately escaped to New York at the beginning of the Second World War and passed away there in 1945.
With the New York City election day around the corner, it’s time to drop the excuses and VOTE. When it comes to funding for our schools and communities, elected officials pay attention to the people who vote. It’s simple: If you're not voting, you don't have a voice.
Make sure you vote early, by mail, or on June 22! Have questions or need help with your voter plan? Call or email the Orthodox Union’s Teach NYS at (646) 459-5162 or email email@example.com
. When you vote, elected officials take note.
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