Amiel, Moshe Avigdor

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AMIEL, MOSHE AVIGDOR (1883–1946), rabbi, religious thinker, and author. Amiel studied under his father and at the Telz yeshivah. From there he proceeded to Vilna where he studied under R. Ḥayyim *Soloveichik and R. Ḥayyim Ozzer *Grodzinski. At the age of 22 Amiel became rabbi of Swieciany, and in 1913, rabbi of Grajewo. One of the first rabbis to join the Mizrachi movement, he began publishing articles, noted for their lucid literary style, on communal and national questions and presenting his outlook on Judaism and the ideology of religious Zionism. In 1920 Amiel was elected rabbi of Antwerp, where his initial public appearance at the Mizrachi convention immediately established him as one of the chief ideologists of religious Zionism. In Antwerp Amiel created a wide network of educational and communal institutions from Jewish day schools to a yeshivah, where he lectured. In 1936 Amiel was elected chief rabbi of Tel Aviv where he found further scope for his varied activities. He established the modern high school yeshivah "Ha-Yishuv he-Ḥadash," now named after him. The school combined talmudic and secular studies and was the first of its kind in Ereẓ Israel. Amiel's first halakhic publication was Darkhei Moshe followed by his three-volume Ha Middot le-Ḥeker ha-Halakhah. A renowned preacher, he published the homiletical works Derashot el Ammi and Hegyonot el Ammi. Amiel was a regular contributor to the religious press.


J.L. Fishman, Anashim shel Ẓurah (1947), 212–23; D. Halaḥmi, Ḥakhmei Yisrael (1957), 408; Kerstein, in: L. Jung (ed.), Guardians of Our Heritage (1958), 661–72. A bibliography of his works was published in Sefer Yovel… M.A. Amiel (1943).

[Mordechai Hacohen]