Yaakov Aryeh Alter
Yaakov Aryeh Alter (Polish: Jakub Arie Alter, Hebrew: יעקב אריה אלתר, born 1939), is the seventh and current Rebbe of the Hasidic dynasty of Ger, a position he has held since 1996. He lives in Israel and has followers in the United States, Europe and Canada. He is a member of the Presidium of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel.
|Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter|
|Term||March 1996 to the present|
|Full name||Yaakov Aryeh Alter|
|Born||18 May 1939|
|Predecessor||Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Alter|
|Father||Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter|
|Mother||Yuta Hena Alter|
Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh was born in 29 Iyar 5699 in Lodz, Poland in 1939, to Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter, also known as the Lev Simcha, who later became the sixth Gerrer Rebbe, and Yuta Henya, daughter of Rabbi Nehemiah Alter, his grandfather's brother. In 1940 he immigrated with his father and grandfather (Rebbe Avraham Mordechai Alter) to Eretz Israel. He studied in the Talmud Torah Etz Chaim. For many years he studied Torah at Gur's Hasidim 'House on Rashi Street in Bnei Brak. For a period practiced Shimush at the Rebbe Nachman Kahana of Spinka. His full proficiency of all volumes of Sefer Mishnah Berura is well-known, and it is accepted that he claims himself as a clear student of the Chafetz Chaim, even though he did not see him. He married to Rebbetzin Shoshana, daughter of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Weitz, one of the heads of Yeshivat Chiddushei HaRim. Prior to his appointment as Admor, he did not serve a Torah role and studied at the Kollel.
Rabbi Alter restricts his activities in matters of the ultra-Orthodox public in general and his Hasidim in particular, and therefore is not recognized by the secular public. He makes sure not to meet the desecrators of Shabbat. He does not allow publication of pictures or image articles about him in the general and ultra-Orthodox press.
Rabbi Alter is one of the wealthiest people in the ultra-Orthodox sector and in Israel in general, and is ranked third on the list of the richest in Israel, with a capital of NIS 350 million (as of 2012.) His wealth came from his father who invested in real estate before the establishment of the state. Among other things, he is one of the largest landowners in the settlement of Arsuf. Despite his wealth, he lived in a modest apartment in an ordinary residential building in the Chazon Ish neighborhood in Bnei Brak. In 2011 he moved to Jerusalem, in his apartment near the new synagogue, and his sons and son-in-law live in residential buildings, some of them sharing a common building in Bnei Brak.
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When Rabbi Simcha Bunim died in 1992, he was succeeded by his half-brother, Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Alter. Upon the latter's unexpected death in 1996, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter was chosen as the next Rebbe of Ger.
He has introduced significant innovations in the curriculum of the educational institutions operated by the Gerrer Hasidim in Israel and abroad — primarily broader knowledge of the expanse of the Talmud, while postponing the learning of Iyun (learning a smaller portion of the Talmud in-depth).
He and his wife have five sons and four daughters.