Friday, 31 July 2015


            He was born in Jassy (Iași), Bessarabia, into a rabbinic family which traced its pedigree back to the Baal-Shem-Tov.  His father, R. Sholem Gutman, was the rabbi of Jassy (Iași).  He studied in yeshivas and secular knowledge with private tutors.  From 1918 he was the rabbi of Leove, later in Husiatyn and in Jassy, where he lived until WWII.  When the German army entered Romania, he was sent to a camp.  In 1945 he was liberated and settled in Bucharest, where he was active in Jewish religious life, and until 1948 he managed a rabbinical seminary.  He was knowledgeable and a scholar of Hassidism, and the author of works in Yiddish and Hebrew which were published in part in such serials as: Der mizrekhi veg (The Mizrachi way), Mizraḥi (Mizrachi), and Yidishe arbeter shtime (Voice of Jewish labor) in Warsaw; Unzer veg (Our way) in Paris; and Hatsofe (The spectator) in Israel.  Among his books: Rabi yisrael baal shem tov (Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov) (Jassy, 1922), 80 pp., which also appeared in his own enlarged reworking in Yiddish with a preface and an afterword in which he expressed his love for the Yiddish language, Rabi yisroel baal shem tov, zayn lebn, virkn un lere (Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, his life, impact, and teaching) (Bucharest, 1946), 116 pp.; Seyfer oyneg shabes, gedanken un erklerungen oyf di parshes hatoyre (Enjoying the Sabbath, thoughts and explanations of the weekly portions of the Torah) (Satu Mare, 1937), 76 pp.; Migedole haḥasidut (From the giants of Hassidism), 6 vols. (Warsaw and Bilgorai, 1927-1937), 356 pp.  He translated a portion of his writings into Romanian himself, and published them in anthologies and journals.

Sources: Dr. Y. Klausner, in Hashiloa (Jerusalem) (May); Biblyografisher yorbukh fun “yivo” (Bibliographical annual from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1927), p. 293.

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