Chasidim of Bobowa
[Yiddish, Bobover chasidim] - A Chasidic group
founded by one of the grandsons of tzaddik Chaim Halberstam of Nowy
Sacz, Shlomo (1847-1906). He was raised and educated in the home of his
grandfather. He served as a rabbi in Oswiecim and Wisznica, and was the
teacher of many outstanding future rabbis.
As a member of the delegation to the Austrian Ministry of Education,
he protested against the expansion of secular education for Jews. In
the late nineteenth century, he settled in the small town of Bobowa in
Malopolska, which belonged to the Dlugoszewski family. He founded a
yeshiva there that attracted many pupils.
During the interwar period, this was one of the
most influential Chasidic groups. Tens of thousands of Chasidim would
travel to Bobowa for major holidays. The Bobowa dynasty perpetuated the
teachings of the tzaddik Chaim Halberstam of Nowy Sacz, stressing
Talmudic studies and a modest, almost ascetic, lifestyle. Shlom
Halberstam was succeeded by his son, Ben-Tsion (1874-1941), who founded
sixteen yeshivas in Malopolska. He was famous for his talent for music,
and wrote many songs. He participated in politics and community life,
and organized help for Polish Jews who had been forced to leave Germany
in 1938 who had been put in a camp in Zbaszyn by the Polish government.
His philanthropic activities were legendary. He was also famous for
the boisterous weddings he gave for his daughters. He was killed along
with many of his family members in Lw�w in July 1941, after the Germans
entered the city.
Ben-Tsion's successor was his son, Shlomo (b.
1908), who managed to leave Poland during the Second World War. He
settled in New York and founded a yeshiva there. Houses of prayer run by
the Bobover Chasidim continue to operate in London, Jerusalem, Antwerp,
Toronto and Montreal.