Alperstein, Avraham Eliezer ben Yeshaya

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ALPERSTEIN, AVRAHAM ELIEZER BEN YESHAYA (1853–1917), rabbi. Born in Kobrin, Grodno Province, Alperstein studied under the direction of Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi *Soloveitchik and Rabbi Jacob David *Willowski, who later became Alperstein's colleague in Chicago. He then studied at yeshivot in Kovno and Vilna and was granted rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Mordecai Meltzer, communal rabbi in Lida, and Rabbi Aryeh Leib Yellin of Bilsk, and then briefly served as rabbi of the Kaminetzer synagogue in Vilna before becoming the communal rabbi in nearby Novograd. A few years later, he accepted a position as rabbi of the Ẓevaḥ Ẓedek synagogue in the vibrant Jewish community of Slobodka near Kovno.

Alperstein came to New York in 1881 together with the first wave of immigrants. He served as rabbi of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in New York. Three years later he moved to Chicago, where he remained for 15 years, serving in several synagogues, Congregation Oheb Shalom Bnai Marienpol, Anshei Kovno, and the Suwalker shul. While in Chicago, Alperstein published his only book, a commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Bikkurim. After spending two years in St. Paul, Minnesota, Alperstein returned to New York in 1901 to become rabbi of the Yagustava shul on Rutgers Street, which enabled him to work together with Rabbis Moses *Matlin and Judah David Bernstein on the yeshiva named for Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor of Kovno. Alperstein campaigned throughout the shteiblach of the Lower East Side, appealing for funds on behalf of riets, which began to grow and prosper. He arranged for the school to transfer its program to the Yagustava shul, where he served as rabbi and taught Talmud. By 1905, the year he became rabbi at Congregation Mishkan Israel, approximately 100 students were engaged in Torah study at riets. Alperstein was also active on behalf of the newly formed Agudat Harabbonim, the Orthodox rabbinical association.

Following his death, his wife founded in his memory the Beth Abraham Home for the Incurably Sick in the Bronx, which at present is the Beth Abraham Hospital, part of the Montefiore-Einstein complex.


Ha-Me'assef, 8:2 (1903), 18; 8:4 (1903), 47; 8:5 (1903), 54; 8:11 (1903), 145; 9:3 (1903), 34; B.Z. Eisenstadt, Chachmei Yisrael b'America (1903), 14; idem, Anshei ha-Shem be-Arẓot ha-Berit (1933), 41.

[Moshe Sherman (2nd ed.)]