Rabbinic Genealogy SIG #Rabbinic LEVIN chief rabbis in Russia and Jerusalem circa 1900 #rabbinic

Lisa Grayson <lisa@...>

I am trying to find more information about a rabbinical connection
in my father's uncle's LEVIN family, on behalf of a 96-year-old
cousin. I have not uncovered anything in the RavSIG archives, so
I'm hoping that knowledgeable readers might be able to help me.

According to the 1908 book "Pittsburgh and Her People," Samuel LEVIN
"was born in the town of Grodna, Russia, about 1844.... Two of [his]
brothers are chief Rabbis of the Jewish church [sic] in Russia and a
nephew... is chief Rabbi in Jerusalem." This citation, and a cousin's
story about Samuel coming to the US because he wanted to avoid the
rabbinical study his brothers pursued, are the only evidence I have
that Samuel LEVIN was part of a rabbinical family.

Samuel came to the US alone in the 1850s and settled in Pittsburgh,
where he worked as a jeweler and optician until he died in 1913; he
was active in the Tree of Life Synagogue. His gravestone confirms
that he was born in Grodno, and also reveals that his father was
Shlomo ha-Levi. I have no information about Samuel's mother, brothers,
or the nephew mentioned in the 1908 book. My father's cousin said that
she did not know that any of her relatives were chief rabbis anywhere.

Let me note that the Pittsburgh book may simply be wrong, although I
have no proof of that. Also, I realize that in 19th-century Eastern
Europe "chief rabbi" was often more a political designation than a
scholarly and/or spiritual one, and that a full discussion of its
meaning is beyond the scope of this list.

Since the article didn't mention any specific towns in Russia, I have
focused my search on the Jerusalem connection. In 1908, Shmuel SALANT
(1816-1909) was the Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem, and had been so since
1878. My Internet research has not uncovered anything to connect him
to this LEVIN family. And it makes no sense that Salant, born in 1816,
would be a nephew of Samuel Levin, born 1844; if there were any family
relationship, Salant would be more likely to have been Samuel Levin's

I'm also considering the possibility that the nephew in question was
not really the chief rabbi in 1908 but rather his assistant, Eliyahu
David Rabinowitz-Teomim, who was born in 1845 in Pikeln, Lithuania,
and moved to Jerusalem in 1901 to assist Rabbi Salant. I have done a
few basic Internet searches on his genealogy, and while I have
uncovered some wonderful sites, I have not found a connection to my

My search for LEVIN in JewishGen's database, "Jewish Religious
Personnel in the Russian Empire, 1853-1854," revealed 34 names,
including one (Leizer LEVIN) in Grodno proper and three others (Antel,
Movsha, and Leiba) in Grodno province... but this is a list of rabbis
from more than 50 years before the Pittsburgh book was published.
There may be a connection left unseen because it was on the maternal
side of both families.

Any suggestions? If your answer is of general interest, please share
it with the list, otherwise please reply privately. Thank you in
advance for your consideration and help.

Yours sincerely,
Lisa Grayson
Chicago, Illinois USA

Researching: MARUCHES, FINK, ROSENTHAL in Vilna, Moletai, Grodno,
Sopotskin, Indura, Özery, Liverpool; LEVIN in Grodno; HIRSCHBERG in
Vilna and Grodno; GOLDMAN in Danzig/Gdansk; ROSENBLOOM in Liverpool;
ROSEN and ROSENKRANTZ in Warsaw; BARMON in Lipno and Rypin; WEINER
in Berdichev; GOLDBERG in Berdichev and Kiev

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