Yaakov Yitzchak Neumann

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak Neumann or Neimann (1920, Pápa, Hungary – 2007, Montreal), also known as "Pupa Rav," was the Rav of Montreal's Hasidic Belz community from 1953 until his death in 2007.

Tombstone of Rabbi Neumann in the Kiryas Pupa Cemetery in Ossinning, NY


Neumann was born in Pápa, Hungary, to his father Rabbi Yosef ben Benzion Neuman who was a student of Rabbi Yeshaya Silberstein in Vác/Weitzen, and the Shevet Sofer in Pressburg. Neumann, who died in 1964, served as Rav in Transylvania (Sepsiszentgyorgy, Deva, Brasso), and then in the Óbuda district of Budapest. His mother, Chayla Gele, was a daughter of Rabbi Avraham Bick Z”L from Pressburg, Bratislava who was a renowned scholar and authored numerous Seforim. His mother was a niece of Rav Yitzchak Yaacov Reines. Neumann was named Yitzhak Yaakov at birth but reversed his name because he did not want to be named after his uncle.[1]

In his youth, Neumann was a student of Reb Yankel Klamka, who was the secretary to the Rav Yaakov Yechizkiah Greenwald Z"L, commonly called the Vayaged Yaakov, the second Pupa Rebbe and rabbi of the Adass Yisroel congregation in Pápa. Neumann was then sent to be the Greenwald's student at the latter's yeshiva in Pápa, where he learned under Greenwald's son, Rav Yosef Greenwald Z'L, commonly referred to as the Vayechi Yosef. The younger Greenwald, who was the third Pupa Rebbe, lost his wife and ten children in the Holocaust, is credited with rebuilding the Pupa Hasidic dynasty in the United States.[2]

The Rav was (first marriage) son in law of R’ Shia Grunwald, Son of R’ Yida Grunwald – Son-in-law of R’ Nuchem Grunwald, both were children of R’ Amram Grunwald of Csorna son of R’ Yosef Grunwald, Tshetsowitz Rav. He had one child Nuchem who perished in the Holocaust. After the war he remarried to Devorah Rachel, the youngest daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Yechezkia Greenwald, who lived in Chust, the brother of the Arugat HaBosem, sons of above mentioned R’ Amram Grunwald. but did not have children.[1]

Rabbi Neumann was a Belzer Hasid.

Rabbinical careerEdit

After surviving the Holocaust, in which his wife and only son, Nuchem, was killed, Rabbi Neumann served as head of the remaining Hungarian Pápa community (abt. 1948), from which he gained the title, Puper Rav.

Rabbi Neumann then emigrated to Australia, and founded the Haredi community in Melbourne. After serving briefly as their rabbi, the Puper Rebbe (charismatic leader of all the Pupa Hasidim) suggested Neumann's appointment in Montreal's Belzer community, to which the Belzer Rebbe approved. Rabbi Neumann arrived in Montreal in 1953 in the company of several followers from Melbourne, and helped guide the bourgeoning Belzer community.

In Montreal, most of the Belzer Hasidic community is of Hungarian origin (though the town of Belz itself can now be found in Western Ukraine). The community's initial humble beginnings in Montreal greatly expanded following the Second World War. The Montreal Shtiebel (a small house of prayer and study) for the Belzer Hasidim is the Hassidei Belz Umachzikei Hadas (Hasidim of Belz and Upholders of the Faith), located on Jeanne-Mance in Mile End. Since Neumann's death, the community has expanded and built another Shtiebl.

Known as the “kleiner/kichi” (small) Puper Rav due to his short stature (3–4 ft.), Rabbi Neumann became the head of the Montreal Belz kehilla (community). Well-liked for his good-natured personality and clever wit, Rabbi Neumann served in Montreal until his death. His influence outside Montreal was evident when after his death he was mourned by the Pupa Hasidim of New York. [3]

He died on 7 Shvat 5767, at the age of 87 without children. He is buried next to the Ohel of his Rebbe, the Vaychi Yosef of Pupa, in Kiryas Pupa, in Ossinning, New York.[1]


  • Bauer, Julien, “Les communautés hassidiques de Montréal.” Dans P. Anctil et I. Robinson (dir.), Les communautés juives de Montréal, Sillery, Septentrion, 2011, p. 216-233.
  • Gutwirth, Jacques. "Hassidism and Urban Life." Jewish Journal of Sociology 38, 1996, p. 107-15.
  • Gutwirth, Jacques. "The Structure of a Hassidic Community in Montreal." The Jewish Journal of Sociology 14, 1972, p. 43-62.
  • Lapidus, Steven. "The Forgotten Hassidim: Rabbis and Rebbes in Prewar Canada." Canadian Jewish Studies Journal/Revue d’études juives canadiennes, vol. 12, 2004, p. 1-30.
  • Shaffir, William. "Chassidic Communities in Montreal." The Canadian Jewish Mosaic. Eds. Morton Weinfeld, Irwin Cotler, William Shaffir ed. Rexdale, Ont.: J. Wiley & Sons Canada, 1981, p. 273-86. Print.
  • Tannenbaum, Gershon. "Rabbi Koppelman Visits Australia." Jewish Press: Americas Largest Independent Jewish Weekly. Web. 01 Nov. 2010.
  • Besser, Yisroel. "Posek, Father, Friend" in Mishpacha Magezine: issue 145 February 2007


  1. ^ a b c "Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Neiman." Kevarim of Tzadikim in North America
  2. ^ Landesman, Yeruchem (1 December 2010). "Sacred Silver". Mishpacha.
  3. ^ Museum of Jewish Montreal. "Puper Rav – Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak Neumann of Montreal's Belz Community". Retrieved 24 June 2019.