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“der Alter Cohen”, Grand Old Man of Minneapolis, Dies at Eighty-seven

January 17, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The grand old patriarch of Minneapolis orthodox Jewry is dead.

Hersh Leib Kauffman, 87 years old, “der alter Cohen”, who had become a legendary figure during his lifetime, died here.

Early in his residence in Minneapolis, orthodox Jews began to associate him with piety and good sense, and many a problem was submitted to his judgment. He was given the sobriquet of “der alter Cohen” and many who did not know his given name, on hearing of the sobriquet, would know at once the reference to the patriarchal man of piety.

He would rise at one a.m. each day and for hours pore over the pages of the Gemorah-the Babylonian Talmud. He was active to the last. Last Sunday night he attended as one of the guests of honor the Mikro Kodesh synagogue rededication banquet. Monday night he was taken ill and Tuesday morning he had to forego his Talmud. He died shortly after five A.M. Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at his home, at the Hebrew Free School and the Mikro Kodesh synagogue. The body was interred in the Q.B.A. cemetery.

Hersh Leib Kauffman came to Minneapolis in 1901 from Shimorovitz, Province of Podolia, Russia, and immediately became active in orthodox Jewish affairs. He became secretary of the old Mikro Kodesh synagogue, served for twelve years and helped reorganize the institution. When plans were broached for erection of the new Mikro Kodesh he was one of the most active toward their consummation, and when ground was broken for the new structure it was he who turned the first shovel of earth. Interested in the development of Jewish youth, he organized the Hebrew Free School and served as principal until his death.

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