Saturday, June 18, 2005

Weiner Family History - Decendents of the Chofetz Chaim

Case of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner
Weiner Family History 

Decendents of the Chofetz Chaim
(AKA: Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen)

To learn more about the case of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner: CLICK HERE
The following is for informational purposes only. The Awareness Center is providing the following to help the average reader better understand the political arena the alleged survivors, witnesses and victim advocates have been subject to.
The majority of individuals around the world are unfamiliar with Rabbi Yaakov Weiner, his family and or the political influences that have surrounded his life.
As in most cases, it is a very difficult to deal with situations of sexual violence when a loved one is the alleged or convicted sex offender. Think about it—what would you do if you suspected that someone you are related to or are friends with is sexually inappropriate? Would you talk to him/her about it? Would you tell another family member or friend? Would you share it with your rabbi? Would your rabbi know what to do? Would you seek professional help or advice? Should you keep quiet to protect your family member or sound the whistle to protect another? How would your community react if they knew someone in your family allegedly sexually victimized another? Would your community's expected reaction influence any decision you'd make? These are just few of the numerous dilemmas and questions regularly posted to The Awareness Center.
Dealing with alleged and convicted sex offenders and their family members presents complex ethical issues. What can be harder than being the mother or the father of a sex offender?
Denial is clearly the first line of defense, because who in their right mind wants to believe that their offspring, someone they love and care for, could hurt a child? How can a parent even think of supposedly relinquishing their instinct to protect their child by reporting him or her to the authorities? It is a terrible dilemma. Could you as a parent turn your child over to the police? Could you force an adult child of yours into sex offender treatment? And what would friends and other family members think if they learned that you were the parent of a sexual predator? A similar between a rock and a hard place is the reality for people who are married to sex offenders.
What about the stigma and shame if anyone learned your secret, learned that you married, live with and or bed such a person? And what about the children of a sex offender—how would you feel if you were one? How would you face your friends, schoolmates, or co-workers once your parent's criminal behavior was made public? Would you still be allowed in your friends' homes? Would you still have friends? Would you and your siblings face shunning and stigma come marriage age?
These heartbreaking and complicated issues are real, and need to be addressed. We need to address them as a community. Every alleged and convicted sex offender has parents, family, friends and colleagues—people who are close to him/her and are faced with this reality, often unprepared, and in many ways, also victimized, hurt, confused, disillusioned, and ashamed.
Do you know of a family member or friend of an alleged or convicted sex offender? It is critical that you don't turn your backs on them. They need your support. Put yourself in their place. If you were one, what would you need?
The spouse of an alleged and/or convicted sex offender may need financial support while the offender is in prison and or treatment. If there are children in the home, the non-abusive spouse may have to keep them away from the offender to keep them safe. Can you imagine the feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and fear that the non-offending parent will need to deal with?
Every member of a family of alleged and/or convicted sex offenders will need the community's emotional, financial, and spiritual support. And what a difference such support can make in the healing process of non-offending family members; versus them being shunned for their "association" with a sexual predator and/or for helping to stop the abuse.
There is no doubt that we all have a moral obligation to help stop sexual violence so that offenders cease to victimize and the victims receive the healing they deserve. Whether we know the offender or not, hiding, denying and covering up his or her actions make us accomplices to the crime. At the same time, the pain of having a family member or friend who is an alleged or convicted sex offender has to be one of the hardest pains to bear. It is also our moral obligation, as a community, to offer a holding environment (not shunning and shame) for all families torn by abuse—those of the victims, and that of the offender. 

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs. 
Table of Contents:  
  1. Paternal Family History of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner
    • FatherRabbi Dovid Weiner (AKA: David Weiner) 

  2. Maternal Family History of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner
    • MotherChana Scheinberg-Weiner
    • Decendent of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen Meir HaKohen (AKA: The Chofetz Chaim
      • Yaakov Yosef Herman - Maternal Great-Grandfather
      • Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg - Maternal Grandfather
        • Mrs. Scheinberg - Weiner
Also see:  
  1. Case of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner
  2. Case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko
  3. Case of Abuses at Ner Israel
  4. When A Family Member Molests: Reality, Conflict, and The Need For Support.
  5. Sex Offender Registry:  Rabbis, Cantors and Other Trusted Officials
  6. Offenders: Problems Our Parents Wouldn't Speak Of
  7. Recidivism of Sex Offenders  (U.S. Department of Justice: Center for Sex Offender Management)


Paternal Family Tree of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner

Father: Rabbi Dovid Weiner (AKA: Rabbi David Weiner)
  • Former Rosh Yeshiva - Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva
  • Director of property taxes - Beit Shemesh, Israel
Rabbi Dovid Weiner (1986)

Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg zt”l (1910-2012): Rosh Yeshiva For The Ages 
Jewish Press - March 28, 2012 

The rosh yeshiva is survived by his son and successor Rabbi Simcha; his daughter Rebbetzin Fruma Rochel, married to Rabbi Chaim Dov Altusky; his daughter Rebbetzin Rivka, married to Rabbi Shimon Rosengarten; his daughter Rebbetzin Chana, married to Rabbi Dovid Weiner; his daughter Rebbetzin Zelda Altusky; and by generations of descendants as well as tens of thousand of students. The remembrance of the rosh yeshiva is a blessing.  


Uncle: Rabbi Binyamin Weiner
  • Former Menahel of Bais Yaakov Cohn High School of Queens.
Maternal Family Tree

Mother: Chana Bailla Scheinberg - Weiner (AKA: Bessie Scheinberg)
The Chofetz Chaim
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan

Yisrael Meir (HaCohen) Kagan (1838 - 1933) was an influential Eastern European rabbi, Halakhist, Kabbalist, and ethicist. He is widely referred to as the Chofetz Chaim, for the title of his best known work. 

Rabbi Kagan was born in Zhetel, Poland on February 6, 1838, and died in Radin, Poland, September 15, 1933. He was one of the most influential rabbis within Orthodox Judaism during the late 19th and early 20th century taking a central leadership role in the World Agudath Israel movement in Eastern Europe. 

One major American yeshiva named in his honor is the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim: Rabbinical Seminary of America centered in Queens, New York, with several branches in the United States and Israel. An Orthodox kibbutz was named Chafetz Chaim in his honor. Many smaller Jewish religious institutions throughout the world also carry his name. The Chofetz Chaim's teachings have inspired some modern Haredi English-speaking American Jews to establsih the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation dedicated to the dissemination of his teachings to Jewish communities around the world. 

Just to give a taste of the greatness of the " Chofetz Chaim", a story is told of a man who came to the "Chofetz Chaim" seeking a "haskama" (certification) for his newly written work on anger management. When he approached the "Chofetz Chaim", the latter refused to adhere to this man's request. The man broke out in a rage over the decline of certification for his writings. The "Chofetz Chaim" simply replied "This is exactly why I didn't give you a 'haskama'. Before I wrote my 'seforim'(books) on 'shmiras halashon'(gossip) I didn't speak one word of gossip for forty years! How dare you be so rude to ask for certification on your book about anger management if you yourself can't control your own anger!" 

The Chofetz Chaim
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen
(AKA: Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen)
1838 – 1933
By Eliezer C. Abrahamson
Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen was one of the greatest figures in modern Jewish history. He was recognized as both an outstanding scholar and an extraordinarily righteous man. His impact on Judaism was phenomenal. It is interesting to note that, despite his great stature, he refused to accept any rabbinical position and supported himself from a small grocery run by his saintly wife in the town of Radin where they lived. Rabbi Yisroel Meir devoted himself to the study and teaching of Torah.
Rabbi Yisroel Meir is perhaps best known for his campaign to teach his fellow Jews about the laws of Lashon Hara (forbidden speech). When he was 35 (1873) he published his first book, Chofetz Chaim, which was devoted to this topic. (The name comes from Tehillim (Psalms) 34, "Who is the man that desires life (chofetz chaim)... keep your tongue from evil...") He later published two more books on this subject. As has often happened to Judaism's great leaders, Rabbi Yisroel Meir became known by the name of his book and is known worldwide as the Chofetz Chaim.
The Chofetz Chaim wrote on many subjects and ultimately published over 20 books. Some important ones are Ahavas Chesed (Love of Kindness) on the mitzvah of lending money, Machaneh Yisroel (The Jewish Camp) for Jews serving in non-Jewish armies, and Nidchei Yisroel (The Scattered of Israel) for Jews who moved to places where there were few religious Jews, particularly America. He wrote books about the importance of Torah study and many other important issues.
Probably the most important book he wrote was the Mishna Berurah, a six-volume commentary on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim (which deals with the laws of daily life and holidays). This book may be the most important halachic (Jewish law) work of our time.
Miscellaneous: Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagen became the co-founder of Agudas Yisrael in 1912.
Yaakov Yosef Herman
Maternal Great-Grandfather of Yaakov Weiner 

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Scheinberg and Yuspa (Yosefa) Tamback
Paternal Great- Grandparents of Yaakov Weiner (Parents of Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg)

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, shlita
Born 1910 in Ostrov, Poland
Morah d'asrah of Mattersdorf and Rosh Yeshivah (Dean) of Torah Ore
Chaim Pichas Scheinberg
Early years
Rabbi Scheinberg was born circa 1913 in New York, the son of a tailor. Until the age of nine he attended public school, afterwards attending the Rabbi Jacob Joseph yeshiva (RJJ) until the age of fourteen. He then studied in Rabbi Yehuda Levenberg's Bais Medrash LeRabbonim Yeshiva (at the time located in New Haven, Connecticut). At seventeen Rabbi Scheinberg progressed to the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, now affiliated with Yeshiva University. There he learned under Rabbis Shlomo Polachek - known as the "Meitcheter Illui", Moshe Soloveitchik and Shimon Shkop (who lived in New York for a short period). Rabbi Scheinberg received Semicha from Rabbi Dr Bernard Revel. 

After marrying the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Herman at the age of 19, the couple embarked for the Mir yeshiva in what was then Poland (and is now Belarus), where he studied for 5 years. The Mir had very few American students, although his brother Shmuel Scheinberg and others such as Nosson Wachtfogel (future Mashgiach of the Lakewood Yeshiva) also learnt there. 
While studying in Mir, Rabbi Scheinberg once visited a leader of Ashkenazi Jewry at the time, the Chofetz Chaim. When informed of a group of students who had travelled all the way from America in order to learn Torah, the Chofetz Chaim was not overly impressed. He quipped, "If G-d came down all the way from heaven to earth in order to give us the Torah, a student can be expected to travel from America to Europe in order to learn His Torah".
Upon returning to the USA, Rabbi Scheinberg became a faculty member of his alma mater, the New Haven Yeshiva, which ultimately closed in 1938. He then became the Mashgiach (spiritual supervisor) at the Rabbinical Seminary of America founded by Rabbi Dovid Leibowitz. 

Later life
In the 1960's, Rabbi Scheinberg relocated from the United States to Israel, where he has lived since. Among other things, he is famous for wearing many layers of tzitzit at the same time. Although he has never publicly revealed the reason, one conjecture is that he does this to satisfy diverging rabbinical opinions as to exactly how this mitzvah must be fulfilled. Another is that he took on this practice while his daughter was ill so that more mitzvot would be performed in her merit. 
He is popular among students at yeshivas geared towards American students due to his fluency in English and his familiarity with the issues faced by American Orthodox teenagers studying in Israel. Rabbi Scheinberg is also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of the Agudath Israel. 

Early-20th Century American Yeshivas
Letters to the Editor - Jewish Press

In his front-page essay "Rabbi Avigdor Miller: His Early Years" (Jewish Press, April 30), Dr. Yitzchok Levine inaccurately stated that during the 1920's, Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan was "the only yeshiva in America at that time with a beis medrash."

The context of this statement is that Rabbi Avigdor Miller learned at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan under Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik before moving on to study at the yeshiva in Slabodka, a transfer done at the request of Rabbi Isaac Sher, son-in-law of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the famed Alter of Slabodka.

William B. Helmreich in his monumental work The World of the Yeshiva describes the history of the formation of the advanced  yeshiva movement in the United States, listing Yeshivas Etz Chaim, founded in 1896, which then merged with Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan in 1915, as the earliest still established advanced yeshiva in the United States. Helmreich then lists the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, started as a rabbinical seminary in 1922, as the second advanced yeshiva established in the United States.

Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan and the Hebrew Theological College were not the onlytwo existing yeshivas with batei medrashos in the United States; in 1923, Rabbi Yehuda Levenberg founded the Bais Medrash LeRabbonim in New Haven, Connecticut. However, due to factors related to the Great Depression and internal dissension within the yeshiva, Rabbi Levenberg relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1928. While the Bais Medrash LeRabbonim ultimately closed in 1938, members of the yeshiva, led by Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman, moved to Baltimore in 1933 where they established Yeshivas Ner Yisrael. 
(Rabbi Yaakov Ruderman was the maternal grandfather of alleged sex offenders Rabbi Matis Weinberg and Rabbi Simcha Weinberg).
Other prominent students and faculty members of the Yeshiva of New Haven included Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (the 20th century's foremost American halachic authority and rosh yeshiva of Manhattan's Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem); Rabbi Dr. Samuel Belkin (rosh hayeshiva of RIETS and second president of Yeshiva University); Rabbi Baruch Kaplan (father of the Bais Yaakov movement in America); Rabbi Menachem Zvi Eichenstein (chief rabbi of St. Louis, Missouri); Rabbi Alexander Linchner (builder of Boys Town Jerusalem); Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg (rosh yeshiva of Torah Or, and spiritual leader of Yerushalayim's Mattesdorf community); and Mr. Charles Batt (the late prominent and distinguished lay leader in the New England Jewish community). (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein is the grandfather of two alleged sex offenders –– Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and Rabbi Aron B. Tendler).
Another yeshiva of the time was Torah Vodaath, founded in 1917 as an elementary school.
In 1926, Reb Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz established a high school there, followed in 1929 by a beis medrash with Rabbi Dovid Leibowitz at its head. In fact, concerning the longstanding, and perhaps integral, relationship between Reb Mendlowitz's Torah Vodaath and Rabbi Levenberg's Yeshiva of New Haven, biographer Yonoson Rosenbaum wrote of a pioneer trip by Reb Mendlowitz to the Yeshiva of New Haven. "He wanted his students to experience a real Beis Medrash on the European model, so he took them on Lag Ba'Omer up to New
Haven, Connecticut where Rabbi Yehuda Heschel Levenberg, the rav of the city, had founded the first advanced yeshiva in America" (Reb Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, p. 80).

Notwithstanding the memorable beginning of the Beis Medrash LeRabbonim, very little has been written in English regarding Rabbi Yehuda Levenberg and his Yeshiva of New Haven. Rabbi Ari Zivitofsky's recent article in the Jewish Observer (December 2003) was quite informative in describing an oft-forgotten chapter in American Orthodoxy.

As an undergraduate student at both Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan and Yeshiva College who is fascinated with Jewish history, I take pride in the history of the yeshiva that I attend, as one should. I appreciate the effort The Jewish Press has demonstrated in presenting the history of American-born gedolim. Rabbi Avigdor Miller truly was, as Dr. Yitzchok Levine
stated, "one of the foremost proponents of Orthodoxy in the United States."

Menachem Butler
Jamaica Estates, NY
Dr. Yitzchok Levine Responds: My statement about Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchanan was based on the following sentence from "Remembering Rabbi Avigdor Miller," an article, written by Rabbi Shmuel Brog, one of Rav Miller's sons-in-law, that appeared in the November 2001 issue of the Jewish Observer (see In this article Rabbi Brog wrote, "His love of learning led him to a second galus. At age 17, after graduating high school, he left Baltimore for Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan in New York, the only yeshiva in America at that time with a beis midrash."

I thank Menachem Butler for pointing this error out to me and your readers. I also thank him for providing us all with some interesting history about the yeshivas that were in existence in the first part of the 20th century.

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