Ger, or Gur (or Gerrer when used as an adjective) is a Hasidic dynasty
originating from Ger, the
Yiddish name of Góra Kalwaria, a small town
in Poland. The founder of the dynasty was
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter
(1798–1866), known as the Chiddushei HaRim after his primary
scholarly work by that title.
Prior to the Holocaust, followers of Ger were estimated to number in
excess of 100,000, making it the largest and most influential
Hasidic groups in Poland. Today, the movement is based in
Jerusalem, and its membership is estimated at 13,000 families, most of
whom live in Israel, making Ger the largest
Hasidic dynasty in
Israel. However, there are also well-established Ger communities in
Brooklyn, New York, and London, UK; and minor Ger communities in
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Los Angeles, California.[citation
2 Distribution of Gerrer Hasidim
3 Identifying features of Ger
4 The 5th Gerrer Rebbe
5 Gerrer dynastic leadership
6 See also
8 External links
After the death of the Kotzker
Rebbe in 1859, the vast majority of his
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter, the Kotzker Rebbe's
brother-in-law and his closest disciple, as their new rebbe. At the
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir lived in
Warsaw and led the main Kotzker
shtiebel there (on ul. Zelazna). Shortly after accepting the
leadership of the Kotzker Rebbe's Hasidim,
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir was
appointed as Rav and
Av Beit Din (head of the rabbinical court) of
Ger. Relocating to Ger, he became the founding rebbe of the Gerrer
dynasty. During his seven years of leadership, the Chassidus
flourished, causing it to be known as the "seven years of plenty".
Avraham Mordechai Alter
Avraham Mordechai Alter in Europe.
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir's death in 1866, his Hasidim wanted his
Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, to succeed
Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib refused to accept this position,
most of the Hasidim became followers of the elderly Hasid, Rabbi
Chanokh Heynekh HaKohen Levin, formerly rabbi of Prushnits and
Krushnevits and then retired to Alexander. After
Rabbi Chanokh Heynekh
died in 1870,
Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib (who became known posthumously
as the Sfas Emes) acceded to the request of the Hasidim to become
their next rebbe. Despite his youth, he was quickly accepted amongst
the rebbes of Poland.
The Gerrer movement flourished under the leadership of
Aryeh Leib and his eldest son and successor,
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai
Alter (known as the Imrei Emes). In 1926, in a bold departure for
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai established a yeshiva in
Jerusalem, naming it for his father, the Sfas Emes. The first rosh
Rabbi Nechemiah Alter, a brother of the Imrei Emes. Today,
the yeshiva remains the flagship of the Gerrer yeshivas. A branch was
set up in Tel Aviv, later to be called Yeshivas Chiddushei
Distribution of Gerrer Hasidim
Almost all Gerrer Hasidim living in pre-war
100,000 Hasidim) were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.[citation
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, who managed to escape, set
about the task of rebuilding the movement in the British Mandate of
Palestine. It is generally accepted that the Gerer
Rebbe was released by the Nazis, and was then able to move to
Palestine, because of a very large ransom paid by his followers to the
Under its post-war leaders, the movement began to flourish again.
Presently, on major occasions such as
Rosh Hashana and Shavuos, more
than 12,000 Hasidim may gather in the main Gerrer beth
Large communities of Gerrer Hasidim exist in
Israel in Ashdod, Bnei
Brak, and Jerusalem, where thousands of Hasidim live, and a somewhat
smaller community exists in Brooklyn, NY.
Smaller communities with tens or hundreds of Hasidim have also been
established in small towns in Israel, such as Arad in the Negev
Hatzor HaGlilit in the Galilee, Kiryat HaRim Levin in Tel
Aviv, Beit Shemesh, and Kiryat Gat, and in major cities in the world,
such as Lakewood, NJ, Los Angeles, CA, London, UK, Antwerp, Belgium,
Zurich, Switzerland, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ger maintains a well-developed educational network of
yeshivas, and kollels, as well as
Beis Yaakov schools for girls. Its
leaders dominate the Agudat
Israel religious movement and political
party in Israel.
Identifying features of Ger
The men are distinguished by their dark Hasidic garb, and by their
pants tucked into their socks called hoyzn-zokn (not to be confused
with the breeches, called halber-hoyzn, worn by men in some other
Hasidic groups). They wear a round felt hat, and a high,
almost-pointed kapel. They raise their sidelocks from the temples, and
tuck them under the yarmulke, nearly hiding them. On
Jewish holidays, married men wear the high circular fur hat of the
Polish Hasidim, called a spodik by Galicianers (not to be confused
with the much flatter shtreimel worn by married men in Hasidic groups
which do not hail from Congress Poland).
Ger follows the way of the Kotzker
Rebbe in stressing service of God
in a sharp and objective way, as opposed to the mystical and spiritual
orientation of other Hasidic groups. Ger also places much emphasis on
Ger Hasidut produced one of the most prolific composers of Jewish
liturgical music of all time, Yankel
Talmud (1885-1965). Known as "the
Beethoven of the Gerrer Rebbes",
Talmud composed dozens of new
melodies every year for the prayer services, including marches,
waltzes, and dance tunes. Though he had no musical training, and could
not even read music,
Talmud composed over 1,500 melodies,
most of them sung by him and his choir in the main Ger synagogue in
Poland and in Israel. Several of Talmud's compositions are still
widely sung today, including his rousing "Shir Hamaalos" march tune,
performed at many weddings, and "Lo Sevoshi", sung in Hasidic
The 5th Gerrer Rebbe
Under the leadership of the fifth Gerrer Rebbe,
Rabbi Yisrael Alter,
known as the Beis Yisrael, the Ichud Mosdos Gur (Union of Gerrer
Institutions) was established as the responsible body for funding all
the educational institutions affiliated with Ger in Israel. Currently
there are about 100 such institutions.
The Beis Yisrael helped rebuild Ger after its virtual destruction in
World War II.
Gerrer dynastic leadership
Yitzchak Meir Alter
Yitzchak Meir Alter (1798 – March 10, 1866), also known as the
Chiddushei HaRim. Notable student of the Kotzker
Rebbe and a prominent
contemporary posek. Assumed leadership of the Hasidim in 1859.
Rebbe Chanoch Heynekh HaKohen Levin of Aleksander (1798 – March 21,
1870), colleague of Yitzchak Meir. Gerrer
Rebbe from 1866 to 1870.
Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847–1905), also known as the Sfas
Emes. Born in Warsaw, Poland. Died in Góra Kalwaria. Wrote Talmudic
works and Maharal-style
Torah commentaries that are known within and
outside Hasidic streams. Grandson of
Rabbi Leib Alter. Gerrer Rebbe
from 1870 to 1905.
Avraham Mordechai Alter
Avraham Mordechai Alter (December 25, 1866 – June 3, 1948),
also known as the Imrei Emes. Son of
Rabbi Leib Alter. Gerrer Rebbe
from 1905 to 1948.
Yisrael Alter (October 12, 1895 – February 20, 1977), also
known as the Beis Yisroel. Son of
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai. Gerrer
Rebbe from 1948 to 1977.
Simchah Bunim Alter (April 6, 1898 – August 6, 1992), also
known as the Lev Simcha. Son of
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai. Gerrer Rebbe
from 1977 to 1992.
Pinchas Menachem Alter
Pinchas Menachem Alter (June 9, 1926 – March 7, 1996), also
known as the Pnei Menachem. Son of
Rabbi Avraham Mordechai. Gerrer
Rebbe from 1992 to 1996.
Yaakov Aryeh Alter
Yaakov Aryeh Alter (born 1939). The only son of
Rebbe from 1996 to the present.
List of Hasidic dynasties
^ Estēr Farbšṭeyn (1 October 2007). Hidden in Thunder. Feldheim
Publishers. p. 82. ISBN 978-965-7265-05-5. Retrieved 31 July
2013. During this venerated rebbe's lifetime, the Ger court spread
farther than ever before; some estimates of the number of his
followers before the Holocaust exceed 100,000.
^ Skolnik, Fred; Berenbaum, Michael (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica. 8.
Macmillan Reference USA. p. 424. ISBN 978-0-02-865936-7.
Retrieved 9 January 2013.
^ Spector, Shmuel; Wigoder, Geoffrey (2001). The Encyclopedia of
Jewish Life: Before and During the Holocaust. NYU Press. p. 1430.
ISBN 978-0-8147-9356-5. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
^ Simeon D. Baumel (2006). Sacred Speakers: Language And Culture Among
The Haredim In Israel. Berghahn Books. p. 35.
ISBN 978-1-84545-062-5. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
^ After Genesis 41:47.
^ a b Bleich, Chanania. "Remembering Reb Yankel Talmud". Ami, 1
September 2013, pp. 128–132.
^ Mandelbaum, Dovid Avrohom (2005). היכל הנגינה [The Chamber
of Music] (PDF) (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: Machon HM”Y. p. 213.
Retrieved 3 November 2013.
^ Werdyger, Duvid; Finkel, Avraham Yaakov (1993). Songs of Hope. CIS
Publishers. p. 34. ISBN 1-56062-226-1.
^ "Accompanying Notes by Cantor Moshe Haschel for Shabbat Shira"
(PDF). pelorous.totallyplc.com. 3–4 February 2012. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
^ Mandelbaum (2005), p. 215.
^ The State Archive in Lodz/Archiwum Państwowe w Łodzi: "Jewish
Civil Registry of Aleksandrow Lodzki", 1870, death (akt) #10, age: 76,
marital status: widower, date: March 21
Alfasi, Yitzchak (2005), בית גור The House of Ger (2 vols) (4th
ed.), Bnei Brak: Moriah
Leff, Nosson Chayim (2010), Personal Correspondence
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ger (Hasidic dynasty).
Alter family tree
First Gerrer Rebbe, Biographie, Orthodox Union
Abram Juda Goldrat, Gora Kalwaria. Gur Dynasty, Encyclopaedia Judaica.
Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, pages 760-761
Gerszon Góra, The Gerer Shtibl — Memories about a little Ger
synagogue in Poland
Arthur Green, Ger Hasidic Dynasty, The YIVO Encyclopedia of
Tamar Rotem, Gur Hasidim and sexual separation first part Haaretz 3
February 2012 For members of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Gur sect, sex is
a sin second part Haaretz 10 February 2012.
A huge Gerrer wedding in
Israel attracts thousands of people on
The Gerrer Chuppah on YouTube
Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok
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