Kowalsky, Judah Leib

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KOWALSKY, JUDAH LEIB (1862–1925), rabbi and Mizrachi leader in Poland. Born in a suburb of Warsaw, Kowalsky was an ordained rabbi who also acquired a general education. He served in the rabbinate in Grabow, Chorzele, and Wloclawek. He joined the Zionist movement as a youth and preached on its behalf in synagogues and meetings, in spite of the opposition of other rabbis. Kowalsky participated in the conference that established the Mizrachi movement in Vilna and worked on behalf of the movement throughout Poland. In 1919 he was elected president of Mizrachi in Poland and did much to develop the network of religious education there. He visited Palestine during the 1921 riots, and on his return he called on Diaspora Jewry to aid the yishuv and went on tours on behalf of the Zionist funds. From 1923 he was a member of the Polish senate. As a leader of the association of rabbis in Poland, he participated in consultations and decisions in halakhic matters. Kowalsky left many volumes of responsa on halakhah which were lost in the Holocaust. He published articles in the Yiddish and Hebrew press in Poland. He died in Breslau and was buried in Wloclawek.


Y. Gur Aryeh, Ha-Rav Y.L. Kowalsky (1926); Sefer Włocławek ve-ha-Sevivah (1967), 143–76, 547–50, 649–54.

[Yitzchak Raphael]