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Successor to Satmar Rebbe Indicated

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Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum who came to Boro Park in Brooklyn some 45 years ago from Siget, Rumania and is therefore known as the Sigeti Rebbe, is expected to succeed Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum as Rebbe of the Satmar movement, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned from well informed sources in the Hasidic community.

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum is a son of the late Joel Teitelbaum’s brother, Rabbi Yezikiel Teitelbaum, Known as the Aitz Chaim, the name of his father’s book, as in Hasidic custom. The sources said that Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum’s virtually certain succession to the post of Satmar Rebbe is related to the fact that the late Joel Teitelbaum, who died Aug. 19 at the age of 93, left no will naming a successor nor had any sons, one of whom would normally have succeeded him. Accordingly there is no direct heir.

Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum was survived by his second wife, Feige, whom he reportedly married in the 1930s in Europe after his first wife died, leaving him three daughters, all of whom he outlived. There were no children from the second marriage. The sources said that there was no struggle over the leadership because there is no valid contender of the stature of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, and that that leadership gap will not be filled until after the shloshim, the 30 days of mourning.

The sources said there may be a period of adjustment to the shock of the loss of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum who came to the United States and led the development of the Satmar community into a communal structure of great size and authority in the Williamsburg and Boro Park sections of Brooklyn.

However, the sources said, the movement was too large and dynamic to remain unaffected by any lengthy period of leaderlessness. They predicted that a growing number of Satmar Hasidim will begin to attend Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum’s congregation in Boro Park and that, without any formal announcement or ceremony; Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum will become rebbe of the Satmar movement, though he will continue to be known as the Sigeti Rebbe.

As the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Teltelbaum headed the movement in Brooklyn and a Jerusalem congregation. A formal announcement was made in Jerusalem at the time of Rabbi Teitelbaum’s funeral at which Rabbi Yitzhak Yankel Weiss, head of the Beth Din, was named chief rabbi of the Jerusalem community. The sources here said the division of rabbinical authority is likely to remain permanent.

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