"High Rabbi" in Poland, Ger Rabbi #poland #warsaw #rabbinic

Elizabeth Jackson

My grandfather, Hirsch Wolf Ingberg, moved from Warsaw to Minden Germany in 1913.  My mother was born in 1918.  She recalled her father making annual trips to Poland to visit what she referred to as the"High Rabbi".  I believe this may have been the Ger Rabbi.  Mother thought her Father saw him in Krakow.

Researching this, I find the following regarding the Ger Rabbi for this time period:

Rebbe Avraham Mordechai Alter (December 25, 1866 – June 3, 1948), also known as the Imrei Emes. Son of Rabbi Leib Alter. Gerrer Rebbe from 1905 to 1948.

I know very little about my grandfather so I am very interested in learning who this "High Rabbi" was and what would be the reason for the annual visit.

Where would this have taken place?  Am I right in assuming the "High Rabbi" was the Ger Rabbi?  How might I learn more about my family's connection to this sect?

Any help/suggestions will be most appreciated.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Jackson

Researching: Ingberg, Klepfisz, Goldflam, Ruda, Mandel, Wasserspring, Baumwoll, Ajzensprung


Are you aware of this common family search  by a Sarah Lasry on an Ancestry Message Board?


It's very possible that the "high Rabbi" was the rebbe of Ger but it could have been the leader of many other Chassidik dynasties. Why do you believe it is him? From what I can find quickly online the center of the Ger dynasty was in Gora Kalawaria (Ger) which is closer to Warsaw than to Krakow. Ger was one of the largest sects before the war (and remains so today) and probably had a strong presence in Warsaw so he may have been a follower. 
I don't know off hand of a different Chassidik sect based in Krakow but as a larger city it would have had many shteibelach (smaller synagogues) connected to various sects. There could have been a big Rabbi who he followed there who wasn't a leader of a dynasty but had a large following. Also your mother may have remembered Krakow when in fact it was a smaller town in the area.
As far as why he would travel to visit the rebbe, he most likely went to spend the high holidays or another holiday there. It was and still is common for Chassidim to travel to gather with the sect leader for the holiday prayers. The rebbe would have spoken, and possibly give individual Chassidim blessings or counsel. 

Steven Bloom

Agreed, It could be any of the "Admorim" (leaders of a Hassidic dynasty) .
Another option could be the Radomsker Rebbe, who would have been situated a bit closer to Krakow. At the time, it was a large movement and all of the Rebbes were either Shlomo Rabinowitz (died in the 1860's)  or his direct male line descendants. Another event that would have spurred a pilgrimage would have been the funeral of the Rebbe himself (of course those weren't annual!).

One interesting fact: A number of Hassidic movements were consolidating throughout the 1800's and then continuously until after the Holocaust. That was one factor that made several of the movements very large.

Considering where your ancestor was from originally, I'd also guess it was the Gerrer Rebbe that he went to see. Perhaps it was easier to take a train into Krakow and then 
ride by horse carriage (there might have been a few cars...very few) to Gur even though Warsaw was a bit closer? Either that or the Krakow thing is just a mistake or he followed a rabbi in Krakow that we haven't identified yet?

One thing you might want to do is use a reliable source to figure out if there were any INBERG marriages into the family of one of the big Rebbe's of that area. That could end up being an important clue.

Steve Bloom
Central Virginia, USA

Elizabeth Jackson

Thank you to all who have responded to my post.  This group is so wonderful at sharing information.  All of your suggestions and insight have been most helpful.  

I may never know for sure which Rabbi my grandfather visited, but I now have a better idea of why he would have made this trip.  I only learned recently that the family was Chasidic.  My mother had only said her family was Orthodox.  However, her mother was a Klepfisz and that family had many members who were Rabbis.  

Does anyone know if there were any lists of who were members of specific religious sects?  I know so little about my grandfather, I am searching for any means of learning more.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

Elizabeth Jackson


An idea I had to possibly suggest which chassidus your family followed would be to look for names given in honor of deceased Rebbes. Although it's not a very reliable method, if you find relatives' names that are in common with Rebbes from either Ger or Radomsk that could suggest your family named after the chassidus they were members of. This would be if you don't know of another reason they would have picked the name (ie. there is no obvious relative they were named after).
You can find the names of the Rebbes from both Ger and Radomsk chassidus on Wikipedia and then check if the dates make sense that any relatives with names in common could have been named after the death of the Rabbi in question.
I like Steve Bloom's suggestion about maybe being a Radomsker chassid. It seems after WWI the chassidus moved to Sosnowiec which is even closer to Krakow than Radomsko is.
Good luck!