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Album, Simon Hirsch


ALBUM, SIMON HIRSCH (1849–1921), U.S. rabbi. Album was born in Tazitz, Lithuania, and studied at the Volozhin yeshivah where he received his ordination. After spending much of his early career working as a rabbi in Russia, Album immigrated to America in 1891. He settled in Chicago and assumed the pulpit of the new Mishna Ugemoro Synagogue, which served the substantial immigrant community. He held this pulpit until his death, overseeing the growth of the congregation and the opening of a second satellite synagogue. Despite his successes as a scholar, communal leader, and congregational rabbi, Album's tenure was not entirely untroubled. His involvement in a number of intra-communal squabbles suggests a difficult personality and penchant for feuding. The most serious of these confrontations occurred in 1903 after Jacob David *Willowski was invited to Chicago to serve as the chief rabbi of a collection of allied synagogues. Willowski quickly set out to establish oversight and control of the kashrut supervision of Chicago's vast abattoirs. This move angered Album, who shortly before had secured an arrangement to act as the sole supervisor for the shoḥatim working at the major packing plants that supplied much of America's centrally slaughtered meat. Bridling at this perceived affront, and probably resentful of his rival's status, Album published a polemic that vilified Willowsky. The ugly public dispute that followed created friction and divisions within the immigrant community, eventually degenerating into a violent confrontation in a synagogue between supporters of the two men. The bickering subsided when Jacob Willowski resigned his post and left Chicago for Palestine. Among Album's writings are Divrei Emet (1904–12), Meḥa'ah Geluyah (1910), and Teshuvah al Ḥanutat ha-Metim (1916).


American Jewish Year Book, 24 (1923); H. Gastwirt, Fraud, Corruption and Holiness: The Controversy over the Supervision of Jewish Dietary Practice in New York, 1881–1940 (1974); H. Meites, History of the Jews of Chicago (1924); New York Times (June 13, 1921).

[Adam Mendelsohn (2nd ed.)]

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