Divorce Decree & Certificate, Cairo-New York 1954 (47500)

גט ושטר הרשאה - Manuscript

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 47500
Title (English): Divorce Decree & Certificate
Title (Hebrew): גט ושטר הרשאה
Note: Manuscript - Women
City: Cairo, Egypt - New York
Publication Date: 1954
Estimated Price: $500.00 USD - $1,000.00 USD


Physical Description

[2] pp., 350:250 mm., creased on folds, light age staining, ink on paper, script, signed and dated.


Detail Description

Divorce decree dated Monday, 18 Kislev, 5715 (December 13, 1954) issued in Cairo, Egypt and delivered in New York City on 29 Tevet 5715 (January 23, 1955). The documents are signed by the issuing and receiving rabbis of each rabbinical court. It appears to be one of the last documents issued by the Cairo court befroe they were expelled from the country in 1956. On behaly of the New York rabbinate are signed:

R. Joseph Elijah b. Eliezer Kolonymus Henkin (1881-1973). He was born in Klimovichi, Belorussia, where his father was head of the yeshivah. Leaving his native town, he studied for six years at the yeshivah of Slutsk under R. Isser-Zalman Meltzer, who together with R. Baruch Baer Leibowitz and R. Jechiel Michael Epstein ordained him. After serving as rabbi in Kavkazskaya and as head of the yeshivah in Sokolov, R. Henkin emigrated to the United States in 1922 and settled in New York City. In 1925 he was appointed director of Ezras Torah, an organization founded in 1915 by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis to provide assistance to rabbinical scholars in war-torn Europe. Under his direction, Ezras Torah expanded into a general charity distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to thousands of needy persons. R. Henkin was continually called upon to decide points of Jewish law. He was particularly authoritative on divorce procedure and on laws of Sabbath as they relate to the new technology.

R. Chaim Tzvi b. Yitzchok Yechiel Kruger (1904-1982), rabbi of Brussels, Judge of Agudat Harabonim. He was born in Zolkov, Poland and educated by his illustrious father. At age 18 he was ordained by several prominent rabbis including R. Menahem Zemba. In 1928 he was appointed to the rabbinate of Brussels where he served until the Holocaust.  Upon his escape from Belgium he coordinated with Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Consul of Portugal, together they saved some 10,000 Jews during the dark and dangerous days of World War II. An erudite rabbinical and Talmudic scholar he was appointed Chief Judge of the Agudat Harabonim in charge of Agunot and Divorce issues. He passed on in 1982 and was interred in Jerusalem.

This writer is not certain, the third signatory appears to be R. Eliezer Silver, important Orthodox Jewish leader. He was born in Abel, Kovno province, Lithuania, he early achieved recognition for his unusual scholarly abilities. He studied under R. Meir Simhah ha-Kohen and R. Joseph Rozin of Dvinsk, R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna, and R Chaim Soloveichik of Brest-Litovsk. Silver emigrated to the United States in 1907 and became the rabbi of united Orthodox congregations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Springfield, Massachusetts (1925); and Cincinnati, Ohio (1931), where he remained until his death. Silver was a leading spokesman for Orthodoxy on the American scene. In 1923 he was elected president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, and he remained a member of its presidium until his death. He founded the U.S. branch of Agudat Israel in 1939 and served as its first president. When the refugee yeshivah pupils reached Vilna in 1939–40 following the Nazi invasion of Poland, he founded the Va'ad Hazzalah, and during the ensuing years he applied the same body to rescuing European rabbis, scholars, and students. In 1946 Silver visited Europe and Erez Israel as an official representative of the United States government to assist the war refugees. He continued to aid the many centers of rabbinic learning which were reestablished in Erez Israel in cooperation with the Israel Va'ad ha-Yeshivot.

In appearance and erudition an Orthodox rabbi of the old school, Silver possessed a scintillating and non-conformist personality and a remarkable sense of humor. His dedication and selflessness were highly regarded and he was often called upon to mediate in disputes in communities throughout the United States. Silver was a constant contributor to talmudic and halakhic periodicals. He edited part of his talmudic novellae and they were published in two volumes entitled Anfei Erez (1960–62). A biography entitled Ish ha-Halakhah ve-ha-Ma'aseh, edited by Menahem Glickman-Porush of Jerusalem, appeared in 1947.

The Divorce Delivery decree (שטר הרשאה) is signed by the Cairo Bet Din, R. Abraham Swicke, R. Moses Dwick and R. Sa'adia Elijah Mehir. It is estimated that the Jewish population of Egypt was reduced by one third between May 1948 and January 1950. The remaining Jews were expelled after the 1956 War with only a few hundred left behind. Egyptian Jews relocated to Israel, France, Brazil, the United States, Argentina and England.


Hebrew Description



EJ; Toldot Anshei Shem p. 38; 119