Shlomo Zev Zweigenhaft

Shlomo Zev Zweigenhaft (Hebrew: הרב שלמה זאב צווייגענהאפט‎) was a rabbi who was Rosh Hashochtim of Poland (overseeing the country's kosher slaughterers) before the Holocaust. After the Holocaust he was Chief Rabbi of Hanover and Lower Saxony. After emigrating to the United States he was a kosher certifier and was described as the "foremost authority on shechita" (kosher slaughter).[1]


Shlomo Zev Zweigenhaft
הרב שלמה זאב צווייגענהאפט
Rabbi Zweigenhaft.jpg
TitleRosh HaShochtim of Poland and
Chief Rabbi of Hannover and Lower Saxony
Personal
BornNovember 2, 1915
DiedAugust 2, 2005
New York City, United States
ReligionJudaism
DenominationOrthodox
OccupationChief Rabbi, Rosh HaShochtim, Rav Hamachshir
Yahrtzeit26 Tammuz 5765
BuriedMount of Olives, Jerusalem, State of Israel
SemichaRabbi Aryeh Tzvi Frumer

Early lifeEdit

FamilyEdit

Zweigenhaft was born in Sosnowiec Poland in 1915. His mother, Michla, came from a rabinnical family. Zweigenhaft's father, Rabbi Moshe Chaim, was a shochet (kosher slaughterer) and a student of Avrohom Bornsztain. Zweigenhaft was orphaned at the age of two and was raised by his paternal grandfather, Efraim Mordechai Mottel Zweigenhaft, who was a rabbi and shochet in Sosnowiec and a descendant of David HaLevi Segal and Joel Sirkis.[2]

EducationEdit

Zweigenhaft studied at a Radomsker cheder in Sosnowiec until the age of 12. For the next two years he was a student of Dov Berish Einhorn in Amstov.[3] He then returned to Sosnowiec where he was a student of David Moshe Rabinowicz in Kibbutz Govoha Yeshiva.[1]

When Zweigenhaft was 16 years old he began to study with Aryeh Tzvi Frumer from whom he received rabbinical ordination two years later.[3]

Rosh Hashochtim of PolandEdit

Zweigenhaft's father, grandfather and great-grandfather were shochtim. By the time he was 20, he was the shochet of several cities in Poland, including Radomsk, Polavno, Amstov, Volbrum, Elkish and Tchebin, and was the Rosh Hashochtim of Sosnowiec.[3]

In the mid-1930s Zweigenhaft was appointed one of the seven members of the Vaad Rosh Hashochtim of Poland and Lithuania a board of seven rabbis overseeing thousands of shochtim throughout Poland. In 1936, a bill outlawing Shechitah was introduced in the Sejm (Polish legislature). Zweigenhaft was selected to convince members of the Sejm that Shechita was a quick and humane form of animal slaughter by killing an animal in front of them. Together with an intense lobbying effort, this led to the Sejm allowing the practice to continue, although it was restricted with a maximum quota.[4][5]

Zweigenhaft was appointed to be the head of the Vaad[6]

Leadership Roles In GermanyEdit

Rosh Hashochtim of British Occupation Zone of GermanyEdit

Zweigenhaft survived the Holocaust and was liberated in Bergen Belsen on April 11, 1945. On August 21, 1945, he performed the first known kosher slaughter in Germany since it was outlawed by the Nazis in 1933.[7][8] After this the British Chief Rabbi's Religious Emergency Council appointed Zweigenhaft to be the Rosh Hashochtim of the British Zone of Germany.[1]

Rav Hamachshir of Bergen-BelsenEdit

On November 7, 1945, the British Chief Rabbi's Religious Emergency Council established two large kitchens in Celle to provide kosher food for the thousands of Jewish survivors living in the nearby Bergen-Belsen D.P. Camp and appointed Zweigenhaft to be the Rav Hamachshir of Bergen-Belsen.[3]

Vaad Harabonim of The British Zone and Rabbi of Various CommunitiesEdit

Zweigenhaft was appointed to be one of the rabbis on the Vaad Harabonim (Board of Rabbis) of The British Zone, which was established and led by Yoel Halpern. He served as the rabbi of some small Jewish communities in the British Zone that did not have their own rabbi.[3]

Chief Rabbi of Hannover and Lower SaxonyEdit

In the months after the liberation of Bergen Belsen, Jewish survivors slowly began to leave the D.P. Camp and settle in towns and cities of the British Zone. At Zweigenhaft's recommendation, the British Chief Rabbi's Religious Emergency Council appointed his friend (and future brother-in-law) Chaim Pinchas Lubinsky Chief Rabbi of Hannover. Later Zweigenhaft became the second postwar rabbi of the city.[1]

In 1949, the British occupation of North-West Germany ended and the British Chief Rabbi's Religious Emergency Council and its appointees were required to conclude operations in Germany. The Jewish community in Hannover then selected Zweigenhaft as the only rabbi of their city. Thereafter, smaller Jewish communities in Lower Saxony appointed Zweigenhaft as their rabbi as well and he became Chief Rabbi of Hannover and Lower Saxony.[9]

Leader of Agudas Yisroel of the British ZoneEdit

 
Zweigenhaft (center) at Pöppendorf D.P. Camp with Captain Ike Aronowicz (left) of the SS Exodus in 1947

Zweigenhaft, Rabbi Yirsoel Moshe Olewski, and Efraim Londoner[10] were the leaders of Agudas Yisroel of the British Zone.[3] In 1947 Zweigenhaft provided supplies to the former passengers of the Exodus in Hamburg before they were forced to disembark.[9]

Rav Hamachshir in AmericaEdit

In 1952 Zweigenhaft emigrated to America and was asked by Eliezer Silver to be the Rosh Hashochtim of the two kosher slaughterhouses in Cincinnati, Ohio.[11] In 1953 Zweigenhaft moved to New York where he was considered the kosher standards of shechita to be low and began to advocate for improvements. In time Zweigenhaft became the Rav Hamachshir of several kosher slaughterhouses. And instituted reforms previously unknown in America. Some rabbis would not eat meat unless it was certified by Zweigenhaft. Over the years many of Zweigenhaft's reforms took root in the industry.[9]

The Orthodox Union certifies certain species of quail as kosher based on Zweigenhaft's opinion.[12][13][14][15]

Authority on kosher slaughterEdit

Zweigenhaft was world-renowned[16] as an authority on shechita. His expertise was highly sought after and he was asked to travel internationally to lecture on shechita, inspect kosher slaughterhouses, and recommend improvements.[17] He trained hundreds of shochtim.[9]

DeathEdit

Zweigenhaft died in New York City August 2, 2005, and was buried the next day on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.[18]

FamilyEdit

When Zweigenhaft was 18 years old he married his cousin Esther, the daughter of Shlomo Sztencl. She and their two children were murdered in Auschwitz on August 2, 1943.[9]

After surviving the Holocaust Zweigenhaft married Frieda, who at the time was a teacher of Judaic studies at the religious girls seminary (kibbutz) in Bergen-Belsen. She was one of the founders of "Rivkah Laufer Bikur Cholim", a board member of "Agudas Yisroel of America" chapter in Crown Heights and the vice president of "Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes Kupath Polin" Ladies Auxiliary of Brooklyn.[9] They were survived by two children:[9][19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Hirsch, Rabbi Moshe (July 27, 2011). "Once Upon A Rav". Hamodia, Inyan Magazine – Kinyan l'Shabbos. XIV (669): 11–12.
  2. ^ Chidushei Hagoen M'Sosnovitz Bais Shlomo Page 11
  3. ^ a b c d e f Migdal Dovid 2015 Edition, Toldos Hamo"l Pages 87–95.
  4. ^ Religious Freedom: The Right to Practice Shehitah (1946 Lewin, Munk and Berman) page 87
  5. ^ http://www.JTA.ORG (http://www.jta.org/1936/03/29/archive/polish-senate-passes-shechita-bill-becomes-law-jan-1) retrieved December 2013
  6. ^ Donn, Yochonon (August 16, 2022). "Keeping a Full Plate". Mishpacha Magazine. No. 924. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Hapardes Rabbinical Monthly Journal Volume 19 Issue 7 October 1945 Page 7 (retrieved July 19, 2020)
  8. ^ "Hamodia, Inyan Magazine (Vol. XV, Issue 706), April 25 2012 Kinyan L'Shabbos Page 16". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Joseph Friedenson. Dos Yiddishe Vort Vol. LXXIX No. 425 September–October 2011 pages 46–48.
  10. ^ Albert, Rabbi Shmuel, "Bridge To A Bygone World"
  11. ^ Silber, T. "Hamodia, New York News Page 3, August 3, 2008".
  12. ^ OUKosher.org, The Birds of the Bible, or, Solving the Mystery of Which of the Species are Kosher and Which are Not by the OU Kosher staff, August 21, 2008 (retrieved July 19, 2020)
  13. ^ http://thejewishheritage.weebly.com/new-blog/the-intricacies-of-quail-rabbi-chaim-loike (retrieved July 19, 2020)
  14. ^ THE KOSHEROLOGIST (June 16, 2014). "ARE QUAIL EGGS KOSHER?". Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  15. ^ Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Ari Greenspan (October 6, 2010). "Quail, Locusts, Blue Eggs, and Shibuta – How to Gather a Menu for a Mesorah Dinner". Mishpacha Magazine: 28 Tishrei 5771, page 50.
  16. ^ Weinberger, Rabbi Naftali "A Practical Guide to the Mitzvah of Shiluach Hakan" Page 144
  17. ^ Schwatz, Rabbi Shmuel Dovid (June 24, 2015). "Hamodia, Inyan Magazine". XVIII (865): 19. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ https://mountofolives.co.il/he/deceased_card/%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%96%D7%90%D7%91-%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%95%D7%99%D7%99%D7%92%D7%A2%D7%A0%D7%94%D7%90%D7%A4%D7%98/#gsc.tab=0 (retrieved July 19, 2020)
  19. ^ Migdal Dovid 1995 Edition Page 12.