Chehebar, Isaac

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CHEHEBAR, ISAAC (1912–1990), rabbi of the Congregación Israelita Sefaradí de la Argentina Yesod Hadath – the main communal organization of the Jews from Aleppo in Buenos Aires. He was born in Aleppo, Syria, and lived there until 1952. He studied in a talmud torah and in a yeshivah, and in addition to the traditional studies of Bible, Talmud, and rabbinical law, he learned Arabic and French. In 1930 he was appointed principal of the talmud torah in his city, with about 700 students. He invested all his efforts in the modernization of the school but rejected the assistance of the *Alliance Israélite Universelle since it was a nonreligious institution.

At the end of 1947 the Arab population attacked the Jews of Aleppo following the un General Assembly decision on the partition of Palestine (Eretz Israel). While most of the Jewish leaders fled from the city after the riots, Rabbi Chehebar undertook the leadership of the community and became its representative vis-à-vis the government. Jewish life continued but security conditions became precarious. In this role he encouraged and helped many Jews, including his parents and family, to immigrate to Israel. In 1952 Chehebar escaped to Lebanon with his wife and children. A year later he arrived in Buenos Aires and was appointed chief rabbi of the Aleppo Jewish community. He was deeply concerned about the observance of mitzvot by the members of his congregation and worked to establish religious schools for children and adults. In 1983 he received the Jerusalem Award for Jewish education in the Diaspora from the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel.


D. Bargman, "Rabbi Itzjak ChehebarUnvisionario, vida y obra" (1995).

[Efraim Zadoff (2nd ed.)]