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Bobov (Hasidic dynasty)
Bobov is a Hasidic group within Judaism with its headquarters in the neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. It has branches in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Monsey, New York, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Antwerp, and London. In Israel Bobov has its headquarters in Bat Yam, and branches in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Ashdod.
Bobov originated with Rabbi Solomon Halberstam in the Galician village of Bobowa, where the bulk of his Hasidim were originally followers of his grandfather, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, known as the Rabbi of Sanz, or by the name of his books the Divrei Chaim.
While most of the early yeshivos originated in Lithuania, by the early 1900s there existed many yeshivoth in Poland. The first yeshivah in Poland was started by Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, and was known as the Bobover Yeshivah. His work was continued by his son Rabbi Benzion Halberstam, originally in the town Bobov itself but later branching into as many as sixty satellite yeshivoth. Chassidic youth in Poland flocked to Bobov have the opportunity to speak with Rabbi Halberstam in private.
With his passing, his son Rabbi Benzion Halberstam took the lead as the Bobover Rebbe, and by creating over 60 Yeshivas throughout Poland, he gained popularity among the youth, which in turn gained him many thousands of followers.
After World War II, barely 300 of his loyal followers remained worldwide. The rest perished together with him during the Holocaust, killed by the Nazis and their Ukrainian allies. His son Rabbi Solomon Halberstam took it upon himself to rebuild Bobov. He first settled on the West Side of Manhattan, later moved to Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and finally settled in Borough Park. Rabbi Solomon was a bit more "worldly" in his ideas compared to other Hasidic groups. He was noted for his outspokenness against disputes between Hasidic groups. This brought him great popularity and respect.
At the time of his death in August 2000, he was mourned by more followers than his father had in Poland. It has been noted that his date of death was on the same date of Aaron the Cohen, mentioned in the Torah, which his son Rabbi Benzion Halberstam explained due to their similar character of loving peace.
With his passing, Rabbi Solomon's son Rabbi Naftali Halberstam became the new leader of Bobov. Throughout Rebbe Naftali's leadership he was plauged with a severe sickness. Rebbe Naftali's fight with sickness ended on March 23, 2005 when he passed away (a mere day before the Jewish holiday of Purim) in Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park, New York. He was seventy four. He is survived by his wife, mother, and two daughters, as well as a brother and sisters.
Major Hasidic groups
Dominant Hasidic groups (arranged by size) include:
- Chabad Lubavitch
- Toldos Aharon
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