Aronowitz, Benjamin

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ARONOWITZ, BENJAMIN (1864–1945), rabbi. Aronowitz was born in Varzhan, Lithuania, and was a student and close disciple of Rabbi Meir Atlas of Shavel. He studied in Volozhin and Telshe. Married in 1885, he continued his studies in Volozhin until 1895, and then moved to Telshe as a dayyan (judge). He was ordained by Rabbi Naphtali Ẓevi *Berlin, Rabbi Yeruḥam Lieb of Minsk, and others. While at Telshe, he created preparatory programs for teenage students who wanted to advance their studies at the yeshivah. In 1906 he immigrated to the United States and served as a pulpit rabbi in Lowell, Mass.

In 1910, Aronowitz moved to New York and took a position at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, where he became instrumental in developing Yeshiva University. A close associate of Bernard *Revel, who was also a student from Telshe, after 1915 he assumed an important role in determining the direction of the institution. Revel appointed him director of the rabbinical students and placed him on the ordination committee with Rabbis Moses *Soleveichik and Bernard Levinthal. He remained on the board for 35 years.

Aronowitz was also a supporter of the *Agudat Israel organization in Israel and worked to build the organization in America by helping to establish its branch in New York in 1939. He worked to make their programs successful in the early 1940s. He was a member of the Agudath ha-Rabbonim for almost 40 years and served as the president of the Vaad ha-Rabbonim of New York from 1935 to 1937. During his lifetime, he published a number of works about the Torah and Talmud in Yagil Torah.


M. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996), 20; B.Z. Eisenstadt, Dorot ha-Aḥaronim (1913), 44; Who's Who in American Jewry (1927), 26; ibid. (1938), 37; Ha-Zedek, Yeshiva Student Publication (Dec. 21, 1939), 2; Morgen Journal (Sept. 16, 1945), 1; Yehadut Lita, vol. 3 (1967), 24; A. Kahn (ed.), Sefer Yeval ha-Yovelot (1986), 208.

[Jeanette Friedman (2nd ed.)]