Herschorn, Joshua (Sheea) Halevy

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HERSCHORN, JOSHUA (Sheea) HALEVY (1893–1969), Canadian rabbi and halakhic scholar. Herschorn was born in Muranovanye-Kurilovtsy, Ukraine, and received his main rabbinic training from his father. He also acquired a secular education and briefly attended the University of Odessa. The anti-Jewish violence which swept the Ukraine in the aftermath of World War i, as well as the repression of the Jewish religion in the Soviet Union, influenced his decision to emigrate to North America.

In 1921 he arrived in Montreal, where he had relatives, and began to function as a rabbi. His supervision of a group of kosher slaughterers gained him the enmity of several prominent local rabbis, who initially attempted to portray him as an interloper and a charlatan. Nonetheless, he was soon accepted by the Montreal Orthodox rabbinate as a valuable colleague. He became a member of the Rabbinic Council (Vaad ha-Rabbanim) of the Montreal Jewish Community Council (Va'ad ha-Ir) from its inception in 1923. In 1936, he became vice president, and in 1951 he succeeded Rabbi Hirsh *Cohen as president of the Rabbinic Council. He was thus widely recognized as Montreal's "chief rabbi." He actively served in this capacity until 1961, when he was incapacitated by illness. He also served for many years as Canadian vice president of the Agudath ha-Rabbonim (Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada).

His major publication is Mi-Ma'ayanei Yeshu'ah (1959), a collection of responsa, reflecting the halakhic concerns of North American Orthodox Judaism from the 1920s to the 1950s. They include several dealing with the halakhic implications of technological innovations. He published numerous articles in journals of rabbinic scholarship, as well as a number of articles and sermons in Montreal's Yiddish and Anglo-Jewish newspapers.


M. Ginzberg, Keneder Adler (Dec. 30, 1951); I. Robinson, Canadian Ethnic Studies (1990), 41–53.

[Ira Robinson (2nd ed.)]