Yudelovitz, Abraham Aaron

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YUDELOVITZ, ABRAHAM AARON (1850–1930), rabbi. Born in Navardonik, Byelorussia, he studied with his uncle Rabbi Meir and then at the *Volozhin yeshivah. He was ordained by Rabbi Yom Tov Lippman of Bialystok. He published his first book, Alim le-Mivḥan, at the age of 21. He held a number of rabbinical positions in succession and served as rabbi of Salov, Kosnitza, Constantin, Turov, and Kapulia before becoming chief rabbi of Manchester, England, in 1898.

He published seven volumes of responsa, Beit Av, from 1896 onward and attended the Sixth World Zionist Congress where he opposed the Uganda proposal. After a half dozen years in Manchester, he immigrated to the United States, first for a congregation in Boston and shortly thereafter to teach at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and then in 1906 as rabbi of Bayonne, New Jersey. He then returned to New York to be rabbi of the Eldridge Street Beit Midrash Hagadol. He never affiliated with Agudath Harabonim but instead belonged to Agudath Ha-Rabbonim ha-Ma'atifim, of which he became president. He continued to publish, including five volumes of Derash Av. He also inaugurated a short-lived Torah journal, Ha-Miẓpeh, of which six volumes appeared. His most controversial rabbinical decision in 1927 permitted a woman to appoint an agent on her behalf for ḥaliẓah to cancel the levirate marriage. He was roundly criticized by the authorities of his time and his reputation was severely damaged. He died three years later and many of the luminaries would not attend his funeral.


M.D. Sherman, Orthodox Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1996).

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]