UNION OF ORTHODOX RABBIS OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA (Agudath Harabbonim), the oldest organization of Orthodox rabbis in the U.S. in 2005 it had 450 members. The Agudath Harabonnim was founded on July 29, 1902, in New York City with a goal of strengthening "the weakened hands of the rabbinate and to remove stumbling blocks from the path of our nation." In 1914 the organization set up the Central Relief Committee, which was later absorbed into the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and in 1915 a charity called Ezras Torah, which still operates today. During World War II, Agudath Harabbonim founded the vaad ha-hatzalah , which rescued leading Orthodox Torah scholars. Occasionally the Agudath Harabbonim clashed with the Rabbinical Council of America over a variety of issues, this was exacerbated by the fact that the former represented the older European-trained generation of rabbis and the latter American-trained rabbis, most of whom were ordained by the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University. Originally, membership in the Agudath Harabbonim was limited, almost exclusively, to rabbis ordained in Europe, and it still insists on the more comprehensive yadin yadin ordination. The monthly Torah journal Ha-Pardes had close ties with the Aggudath Harabbonim and carried a lot of information relevant to it, until it stopped appearing in 2004. The Agudath Harabonnim maintains its own bet din (ecclesiastical court) that was headed in 2005 by Rabbi Hersh Ginsberg. Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Brooklyn, New York, although not a member of the Agudath Harabonnim, lobbied on its behalf since 1979. For many years Rabbi eliezer silver was the president and central figure in the Agudath Harabbonim. The organization has not had a president since the passing of Rabbi Moses Feinstein in 1986. In the early 21st century, it was led by a Va'ad ha-Meẓumẓam that included Rabbi David Feinstein, son of the late Rabbi Moses Feinstein. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Charles S. Liebman, in: AJYB, 66 (1965), 21–97; A. Rakeffet-Rothkoff, The Silver Era in American Jewish Orthodoxy: Rabbi Eliezer Silver and His Generation (1981); J.S. Gurock, American Jewish Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective (1996). (Asher Oser (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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