TEITELBAUM, AARON


TEITELBAUM, AARON
TEITELBAUM, AARON (1890–1950), U.S. rabbi and communal worker. Teitelbaum was born in Jerusalem but was a citizen of the United States since his father had acquired American citizenship before Aaron's birth. After being ordained by R. Ḥayyim Berlin and Rabbi A.I. Kook in 1911, Teitelbaum proceeded to the United States and in 1914 was appointed secretary of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada. In this capacity he arbitrated in a labor dispute between the garment workers and their employers. On the outbreak of World War I Teitelbaum took the initiative in establishing the Central Relief Committee for relief work on behalf of rabbis and Orthodox institutions. Simultaneously the American Jewish Relief Committee was formed for general relief, and in November 1914 these two bodies, together with the Peoples' Relief Committee, amalgamated to form the american jewish joint distribution committee (the "Joint"), with Teitelbaum appointed to its executive. From this time until his death   he was regarded as the representative of Orthodox Jewry in the Joint, and later in the Jewish Agency, being appointed a member of the Jewish Agency Council on its foundation in 1929 and a member of its Administrative Committee from 1929 to 1931. In 1918 he was appointed by Woodrow Wilson as the only Jewish member of the Hoover Commission, set up to investigate conditions in Europe and the Near East, serving as commissioner of relief, Near East Relief Mission. He used the authority of this position, and the large amounts of money made available to the Joint, to reestablish the yeshivot in Eastern Europe which had been destroyed during the war. Teitelbaum was responsible for persuading the State Bank of New York to buy up the whole issue of $150,000 in bonds issued by the municipality of Tel Aviv, the first transaction of this kind. In 1930 he returned to Jerusalem, but on the outbreak of World War II he returned to the United States to set up relief programs for European Jewry. He returned to Jerusalem in 1950, where he died the same year.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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