The Jewish history of Sighet is almost synonymous with its long line of rabbis from the Teitelbaum family. This rabbinic and chassidic dynasty dominated Orthodox life of Sighet for nearly a century prior to the community’s destruction in the Holocaust.
It began with the son of the Yismach Moshe, Rav Eliezer Nisson Teitelbaum, and was later continued with his son Rav Yekusiel Yehuda, the famed Yetev Lev of Sighet who established the Sighet chassidic dynasty as well as founding and heading a prominent yeshiva in town. He in turn was succeeded by his son the Kedushas Yom Tov, and it continued with his oldest son the Rav Chaim Tzvi, the Atzei Chaim. Upon his untimely passing in 1926, his 14 year old son Zalman Leib was chosen to succeed his father, while the deceased’s brother Rav Yoelish Teitelbaum wasn’t offered a position in Sighet and would later gain renown as the Satmar Rav. Though the community was mostly wiped out during the Holocaust – poignantly described by Sighet native Elie Wiesel – there was a resurgence of the community in the postwar, and it was briefly led by the Atzei Chaim’s surviving son Rav Moshe Teitelbaum, the Beirach Moshe.
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