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Yekusiel Yehuda III Teitelbaum, known by the Yiddish colloquial name Zalman Leib (born 23 December 1951; Hebrew: יקותיאל יהודה טייטלבוים‬, Yiddish: זלמן לייב טייטלבוים‎)[1] is one of two Grand Rebbes of Satmar, and the third son of Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, the late Rebbe of the Satmar Hasidim. He is the son-in-law of the previous Bistritzer Rebbe of Brooklyn. He is the grand rabbi of the central Satmar congregation in Williamsburg and the Dean of a Satmar Yeshiva in Queens.

Yekusiel Yehuda III Teitelbaum
Born (1951-12-23) 23 December 1951 (age 66)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, United States
Other namesZalmen Leib
OccupationGrand Rebbe
Spouse(s)Chaya Sarah
Yekusiel Yehuda III Teitelbaum
Yekusiel Yehuda III Teitelbaum shaking hands with his father, Moshe Teitelbaum

Prior to taking up his position in Williamsburg, Rabbi Teitelbaum was the rabbi of the Satmar Hasidim in Jerusalem. Before that, he was the rabbi of the Sighet Synagogue in Boro Park, which had once been his father's synagogue. Presently, both of those synagogues are led by sons of Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum. He is currently the Rabbi of the central Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg at 152 Rodney Street.[2] Additionally, he controls approximately ten smaller synagogues, as well as separate schools for boys and girls,in Williamsburg alone many more elsewhere which cater to over 10,000 students. He oversees several charitable funds and large organizations. The influential Yiddish newspaper Der Yid is published by his followers.

In 2007, Newsweek named him the 15th most influential rabbi in America.


Satmar succession feudEdit

In 1999, a major turn of events transpired in Satmar with respect to the future succession of the late Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, as the idea of splitting the dynasty into two separate sects started to gain momentum. Although standard procedure in Hasidic dynasties is that the oldest son takes over the sect, many opposed Aaron Teitelbaum, the older son, who had taken some controversial positions during his tenure as Rabbi of Kiryas Joel.

Around May 1999, as the "succession feud" was building up, it was announced that Rabbi Moshe had created a new position, that of Rabbi of the Williamsburg congregation, and was appointing his third son, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, to the post. As Williamsburg was the traditional center of the Satmar community, this move was widely taken as a signal that Moshe Teitelbaum was indicating that he wished Zalman Teitelbaum to succeed him.

Rabbi Aaron's supporters in Williamsburg were stripped of their positions. The supporters of Aaron scrambled to reverse the situation; initially the two sides attempted to settle the dispute in Beth Din, but could not come to an agreement. The dispute ultimately wound up in the secular court system, which determined that the status quo should be maintained. The verdict was viewed as a victory for Zalman Teitelbaum's faction.[3][4]

The Satmar split drastically and permanently changed the dynamics of the Satmar dynasty. Instead of being a united global entity, headquartered in Williamsburg and led by one Grand Rabbi, it is now split into two independent sects: one led by Rabbi Zalman, who is based in Williamsburg, the other by Rabbi Aaron, who is now in charge of the main Satmar synagogues in Kiryas Joel and Borough Park, Brooklyn, a Hasidic neighborhood eight miles from Williamsburg.


In keeping with the traditional beliefs of Satmar, Teitelbaum is a strong opponent of Zionism. Teitelbaum is closely affiliated with the Jerusalem based anti Zionist Eidah HaChareidis, particularly with Rabbi Yitzchok Tuviah Weiss. He has referred to the State of Israel as "this generation's Amalek" and said that "the Zionists came from the seed of Amalek. There has never been such a sect that caused so much damage to the Jewish people." He opposes the proposed draft of Haredi men by the Israel Defense Forces and has encouraged resistance against the draft decree: "We must fight it uncompromisingly so that such ideas won't even cross their minds."[5] Teitelbaum regularly raises money for impoverished anti-Zionist Jews in Israel, who refuse to accept government benefits.

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  1. ^ Arye Ehrlich. Malkhut shel Khesed. Mishpacha, 13 December 2012 (p. 28).
  2. ^ Zohar, Gil (7 Sep 2007). "The House of Satmar". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ Newman, Andy (2006-04-26). "Amid Mourning, Satmar Succession Goes to Court". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  4. ^ McKenna, Chris (Nov 21, 2007). "Brooklyn faction wins in latest Satmar ruling". Retrieved 2018-03-05. The state's highest court affirmed lower-court decisions — and the status quo in Brooklyn — by ruling yesterday that the bitter power struggle hinges on religious questions no secular court can resolve. The Court of Appeals decision was a victory for supporters of Rabbi Zalmen Teitelbaum and a defeat for backers of his older brother, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, who was the chief rabbi in Kiryas Joel for many years.
  5. ^ "Satmar: IDF draft worse than annihilation".