Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On the Vilna Gaon yeshiva in Harlem, and 100th yahrzeit rumor from 1897

Here is the announcement of the formation of a yeshiva in Harlem called Yeshivas Ha-gaon Eliyahu Vilna in 1907. If f anyone has any further info if this actually occurred beyond what was stated here (45 students), please let me know. From the American Hebrew.

And here is an interesting story about a rumor, apparently sweeping eastern Europe, that a letter from the Vilna Ga'on was going to be publicized for his 100th yahrzeit as per his alleged instructions. American Hebreew 1897. (This rumor does not, by the way, refer to Alim li-Trufah, the well-known letter by Rabbi Eliyah Wilna, which was already published in 1849, and perhaps earlier.)


  1. For more on the interesting Miss Ray Frank, see

    1. Thanks Dan. Before seeing your comment I felt moved to remark on the singularity of Miss Frank and I was going to ask whether anyone knows what became of her career, but now I don't have to ask.

  2. Superintendant Chalmers7:32 AM, February 14, 2013

    Any idea what the Koona Yeshiba was?

    1. Kovno. Are they referring to Slobodka?

      From Do a search in American Jewish Year Book for Samuel Hirsdansky:
      Hirsdansky, Samuel Z'vi. Rabbi of B'nai Pithche Teshubah, New York City. Born Ab 7, 5608, at Kovno, Russia. Son of Abraham Isaac Hirsdansky and Rachel Miriam Iviensky. Educated at Talmudical Colleges of Kovno and Volosin, Russia. Rabbinical diploma conferred by Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spector, Kovno. Was Rabbi in Congregations Anshei Emeth, Agudath Achim Chesed Shel Emeth, Anshei Makowa, and Anshei Kroz, azl in New York City. Founder of an Old People's Home; a Society for the Aid of the Sick; a Kosher Food House for Jewish Soldiers; a Free Transportation Society, etc.; all in Kovno. Was Gabai of the Kovno Talmudical College. Address: 10 East 103rd, New
      York City.

      1909 (necrology):
      JUNE 1. Samuel H. Hirsdansky, Talmudic scholar, New
      York City, aged 61.

  3. Is "Madison Street" an archaic name for Madison Avenue? Or is it some street in East Harlem that I simply don't know?

  4. oh my god, i never realized that ray frank had that type of yichus.

    gavri: there is a monograph on her by simon litman from the 1940s and a series later in western jewish historical quarterly

    fred: on the school check gurock's book on jewish harlem, as well as the old lists of schools, e.g., in 1917 jewish communal register

  5. I googled "yeshibath Ha-Gaon Rabbi Elijah" and found it listed as a congregation in Brooklyn in the AJ Yearbook 1919-20 and that "1664 Madison Avenue" was a church in spanish harlem (in 1939?)



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