Today’s Yahrtzeits & History – 17 Tammuz


flicker_100392Rav Salman Mutzafi (1900-1975). Born in Baghdad to Rav Tzion Meir, who descended from an illustrious family of Torah scholars who first arrived in Baghdad during the Spanish expulsion. The person who had the greatest influence on Rav Salman during his childhood was the Ben Ish Chai. Every Shabbos, the young Salman accompanied his father to Baghdad’s main shul to hear the Ben Ish Chai’s drasha, which lasted for two hours and was attended by over 2,000 people. In 1934, he moved to Eretz Yisrael. For two full years, he studied the nine volumes of Siddur Harashash, with all of its kabbalistic kavanos. It is said that his prayers have successfully saved the Jewish people on many occasions.

Rav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg (1923-1999). The Weinberg family is from the Slonimer chasidic dynasty, a Lithuanian chassidus. The approach and relationship of the Slonim chasidim to Torah has been similar to the classical Litvishe approach. The founder of the dynasty was Rav Avraham ben Yitzchak Mattisyohu Weinberg, the author of Chessed L’Avraham. As a youth, Rav Weinberg studied in the Rabbenu Chaim Berlin yeshiva in New York City under Rav Yitzchak Hutner, a talmid of the Alter of Slobodke. Rav Weinberg married the only daughter of Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisrael of Baltimore and another talmid of the Alter. In 1964, Rav Ruderman sent him to Toronto, to preside as the rosh yeshiva of a branch that Ner Yisrael had established there several years earlier.Eight years later, when the yeshiva in Toronto decided to become independent, he returned to Baltimore. Shortly before the petirah of his father-in-law in 1987, Rav Weinberg was asked to preside as the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore. He was a member of the Moetzes Roshei Hayeshivos of Torah Umesorah for many years, and was very active in expanding the projects of this important organization.

Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Spiegel (1937-2001), Rav of the Romanian shul Khal Shaarei Shomayim, son of Rav Moshe Menachem Spiegel, the Admor of Ostrov-Kalushin (formerly of Brownsville, later of the Lower East Side), and the grandson of Rav Naftali Aryeh Spiegel, the former Rav of Ostrov-Kalushin in Poland; a talmid muvhak of Rav Ahron Kotler.

Today in History – 17 Tammuz

· Crusaders captured Yerushalayim, 1099.
· Anti-Jewish riots in Cordova, Spain, 1148.
· Jews of Lithuania received a Charter of Privilege, 1388.
· The rabble murdered Rav Yehuda, the grandson of the Rosh, together with his family, talmidim and many others in Toledo, incited by the archdeacon of Ejica, Ferrand Martinez, 1391. This followed massacres in Seville, where 4000 Jews were murdered and many others were forced to convert, as well as Cordova.
· The American colonies declared their independence and promised religious freedom for all, 1776. The Declaration of Independence eventually provided the basis for religious tolerance in most other countries. While there were less than 2,500 Jews within the colonies, approximately 600 Jews participated in the revolution including 24 officers (and the great-grandfather of Supreme Court Justice Cardozo). Isaac Franks, David Salisbury Franks and Solomon Bush all attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. One company in South Carolina had so many Jews that it was called the “Jews Company”.
· Special taxes on Jews were finally abolished in Switzerland, 1798
· 4,000 Jews of the ghetto in Bialystok were shot, 1941.
· Libyaordered the confiscation of Jewish property, 1970.
· In a landmark church-state decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that tuition vouchers were constitutional, 2002.

{Manny Newscenter}


  1. Something you missed: The Edict of Expulsion of Jews from England was issued by Edward I on July 18, 1290 on the Julian calendar. That would have been July 25, 1290 in the Gregorian calendar had it been invented by then, and it was 9 Av 5050 on the Jewish calendar.

  2. The item regarding the independence of the United States is not completely accurate. July 4, 1776 was indeed 17 Tammuz 5536, and most of the small Jewish community here did support the rebellion. But the Declaration of Independence did not promise religious freedom. That came about over a much longer period as the result of the adoption of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the incorporation of most of the Bill of Rights to apply to states as the result of court interpretations of the 14th Amendment, and the adoption of provisions in most State Constitutions that protect freedom of religion. It should be noted that Jews could not vote in Maryland until the 1820s or form congregations in Connecticut until the 1840s, and that Mormons were the victims of pogroms in 1830s in Missouri and in the 1840s in Illinois.

  3. theres no city called ostrov kalushin!reb naftoli spigel z’l came over from ostrov mazowieczk in the 1920s he was a shoichet in the bronx!his real name was rokeach.the last rov in ostrov was rav shraga feivel singer . before him was the klee chemdoh [reb meir dan plotzki] &before them was reb yosef kalish soon to be amshinover rebbe p.s. today is a real polishe yahrzeit the rebbe of radzymyn