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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rare Footage of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan, at First Knessia Gedolah

This is off topic, but too important not to share. This is video of the Chafetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan zt"l (may the memory of the righteous be a blessing) attending the first gathering of Agudath Yisrael in Vienna in 1923 (he's the man in the long coat with the visible white side curls - he was 88 years old at the time and would live for another ten years).

The First World Congress (Knessia Gedolah) of the World Agudath Israel was the first major gathering of all the different sects of World Jewry which took place in Vienna starting from Elul 3, 5683 / August 15, 1923 and which lasted for ten days.

This is from the description: (World Congress of Agudas Jisroel, new organization of Orthodox Jews, in session. Shots of delegates arriving before Congress Building (the old circus building) in Zirkue Strasse. Group shot with Chief Rabbi Chaim Sechor (Roumania) in center. Group with Rabbi Lee Preschner, member of the business committee of the association. Group with Rabbi Ehrmann (Frankfort, Germany) in conversation. Dr. Jacob Rosenheim (Frankfort) leader of the new movement. Dr. Leo Jung (New York). Sally Guggenheim. Chief Rabbi Spitzer (Czechoslovakia). Delegate from Palestine. Chief Rabbi Lowenstein (Zurich, Switzerland). Dr. Kirschbaum (Warsaw, Poland), deputy in the Sejm (Polish Parliament). Chief Rabbi Permutier (Warsaw), Sejm deputy. The famous 90 year old Rabbi Jisreol Meier Hakohen (Radin), also called "Chofez Chaim" after his great work. Identifications of delegates may be incorrect.)

I think they have the Chafetz Chaim's age wrong - he was born in 1835 and died in 1933.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Zvi S).

For those who read Hebrew, there are further details about the conference's agenda here.

Dr. Jung zt"l was the Rabbi Emeritus of the Jewish Center of the Upper West Side of Manhattan when I was in college at Bir Zeit on the Hudson in the late 1970's. I often prayed in that synagogue on the Sabbath.

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