Friday 14 August 2015


            He was born in Kerestir, Hungary, into a family of Hassidic rabbis.  He studied in Satmar (Satu Mare).  From 1922, he was rabbi of the town of Bodrogkeresztúr, Zemlin region, Hungary.  He was the author of a number of religious texts—in Hebrew and in Yiddish—concerning the lives of Hassidim in Hungary and in Slovakia.  Among others, these works include in Hebrew: Me beer yeshayahu (Isaiah’s well water) (Tirna, 1927), 50 pp., which he rewrote in Yiddish and expanded into Khizoyen yeshaye (Isaiah’s vision) (Tirna, 1928), part 1, 55 pp., part 2, (1929), 55 pp. (second printing, 1933, 110 pp.).  This work includes “a depiction of the life and the experiences of R. Yeshayele Kerestiner, according to the text Me beer yeshayahu, as well as some other religious texts which I have not mentioned.”  In his two prefaces, in Hebrew and in Yiddish, the author apologized that he translated into Judeo-German, “so as to fortify the Jewishness and the faith as well as the words of the sages and holy men….  I have translated all of this into Judeo-German, so that every Jew may enjoy it.”  And, he signed his name: “A Jewish servant within the Diaspora.”  When the Germans occupied his town, he suffered all manner of indignity and pain from the Nazis.  In June 1944 he and all the Jewish families were led out to Auschwitz and there to perform various hard labors.  In March 1945 he was forced into a death march across Germany.  He survived and later returned to his town.  There, though, he found only a handful of surviving Jews and with them he emigrated.

Source: A. V. Fridberg, Bet eked sefarim (The library); Ungarishe sektsye fun statistishn departament baym yidishn velt-kongres in budapesht (Hungarian section of the statistics department of the Jewish World Congress in Budapest), Raport numer 13-14 (Report number 13-14).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

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