Skulen (or rarely Skolen) Hasidic dynasty was founded by Rav Eliezer Zusia Portugal. It was headed by his son, Rav Yisroel Avrohom Portugal until his death on 1st April 2019. Name is originated from Sculeni (Yiddish: סקולען Skulen), a town in Bessarabia where Rabbi Eliezer Zusia was born and served as rabbi.
Hasidism, sometimes Hasidic Judaism, is a Jewish religious group. It arose as a spiritual revival movement in contemporary Western Ukraine during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe. Today, most affiliates reside in Israel and the United States. Israel Ben Eliezer, the "Baal Shem Tov", is regarded as its founding father, and his disciples developed and disseminated it. Present-day Hasidism is a sub-group within Ultra-Orthodox ("Haredi") Judaism, and is noted for its religious conservatism and social seclusion. Its members adhere closely both to Orthodox Jewish practice – with the movement's own unique emphases – and the traditions of Eastern European Jews, so much so that many of the latter, including various special styles of dress and the use of the Yiddish language, are nowadays associated almost exclusively with Hasidism.
Rav is the Hebrew generic term for a teacher or a personal spiritual guide. For example, Pirkei Avot (1:6) states that:
(..) Joshua ben Perachiah says, ″Set up a teacher [rav] for yourself. And get yourself a study partner. And give everybody the benefit of the doubt.″ Pirke Avot: Timeless Wisdom for Modern Life; William Berkson, 2010, p185.
Eliezer Zusia Portugal, the first Skulener Rebbe, was revered by his followers in Russia, Romania, Israel, and the United States for his personal warmth and his care for hundreds of Jewish youth and war orphans, whom he personally adopted as his own children. He established the Skulener dynasty in America in the 1960s. His only biological son, Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, succeeded him as Rebbe.
Rabbi Eliezer Zusia succeeded his father as rabbi of Skulen at the age of 17 upon his father's death in 1915. Thereupon he became a disciple of the rebbe of Bohush (Buhusi, Romania), a scion of the Ruzhiner dynasty. Before the outbreak of World War II, the rebbe moved to Chernowitz. He survived the war and moved to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, where he opened an orphanage for the orphans left after the Holocaust. When the Communists took over Romania, it became dangerous for him to continue to educate the children in the ways of Judaism, yet the Rebbe continued unabashed. In 1959, the Communists arrested the rebbe and his son, the present rebbe, for teaching religion and for supporting and educating orphans. The Rebbes of Sadigura, Kopishnietz and Boyan led an international effort to free the Skulener Rebbe and his son, and eventually, Rabbi Eliezer Silver at the request of the Lubavitcher Rebbe succeeded in securing the release through his connections in Washington and the Rebbe and his son were freed and immediately immigrated to the United States in 1960. Upon moving to America the rebbe continued his works helping the underprivileged and began an international charity organization known as Chesed L'Avraham. The Rebbe authored Noam Eliezer and Kedushas Eliezer, and composed many popular Hasidic tunes. He died in 1982 and was buried in the Viznitzer Cemetery in Monsey, New York. He was succeeded by his son, Rebbe Yisroel Avrohom Portugal who continued his father's work by by running the Chesed L'Avraham organization to help the needy in the Holy Land and around the world, and wrote many Hasidic tunes. The Rebbe died on the 1st April 2019 in Johns Hopkins Hospital surrounded by his family. He was Succeeded by his son Reb Yeshaya Yakov Portugal , the Third Skulener Rebbe, long may he reign. Other sons of Rebbe Yisroel Avrohom Portugal lead the Skulener communities in Williamsburg, Monsey, In Lakewood NJ his son Horav Zvi Noach who was previously the Rav of the Lakewood Kehilah was crowned as Skulen Rebbi of Lakewood. The central Skulener synagogue is located on 54th street in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, New York, near 13th avenue.
Bohush is a Hasidic dynasty named for the town of Buhuși, Romania. The dynasty began in the mid-nineteenth century with Rabbi Yitzchok Friedman of Bohush, the eldest grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Friedman of Ruzhyn, and was based in that town until 1951, when his great-grandson, Rabbi Yitzchok Friedman of Bohush-Tel Aviv, moved the dynasty to Tel Aviv. In 1987 the Bohush beis medrash was transferred to Bnei Brak, where the dynasty is led today by Rabbi Yaakov Mendel Friedman, a great-great-grandson of the first Bohusher Rebbe.
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.
Ruzhin is the name of a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rabbi Yisroel Friedman (1796–1850) in the town of Ruzhyn, Ukraine, today an urban-type settlement in Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine.
Israel ben Eliezer, known as the Baal Shem Tov or as the Besht, was a Jewish mystical rabbi from Poland, who is regarded as the founder of Hasidic Judaism. "Besht" is the acronym for Baal Shem Tov, which means "Master of the Good Name" or "one with a good reputation".
Zlotshov is the name of a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rebbe Yechiel Michel, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism. Zlotshov is the Yiddish name of Zolochiv, a town in present-day Ukraine. Yechiel Mechel's five sons all founded their own branches of the Zlotshov dynasty. Descendant dynasties include the Zvhil, Skolye, Zvhil-Mezhbizh and Shotz dynasties.
Kremenets is a city of regional significance in the Ternopil Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kremenets Raion (district), and lies 18 km north-east of the great Pochayiv Monastery. The city is situated in the historic region of Volhynia.
Vizhnitz is the name of a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Hager. Vizhnitz is the Yiddish name of Vyzhnytsia, a town in present-day Ukraine.
The Aleksander hasidic movement flourished in Poland from 1880 until it was largely destroyed by Nazi Germany during World War II. The sect is named after the town of its origin, Aleksandrow Lodzki, Poland,, which was called Aleksander in Yiddish.
Chernobyl is a Hasidic dynasty that was founded by Grand Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky, known by the name of his work as the "Meor Einayim". The dynasty is named after the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl, where Rabbi Nachum served as the maggid.
Karlin-Stolin is a Hasidic dynasty originating with Rebbe Aaron the Great of Karlin in present-day Belarus. Karlin was one of the first centres of Hasidim to be set up in Lithuania.
Zvhil is the name of a Hasidic dynasty which originated with Rabbi Moshe of Zvhil, the son of Rabbi Yechiel Michl, the Magid (Preacher) of Zlotshev. He was also the grandson of Rabbi Yitzchok of Drubitsh and Rabbi Aharon of Karlin. As in several inter-related Hasidic dynasties, family tradition held that Rabbi Moshe was a descendant of King David.
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal son of Rabbi Eliezer Zusia Portugal and his first wife, Sheina Rachel, was the Rebbe of Skulen in Brooklyn, New York. He was the last Holocaust era Rebbe to lead a Hasidic sect.
Boyan is a Hasidic dynasty named after the town of Boiany in the historic region of Bukovina, now in Ukraine. The Hasidut is headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel, with communities in Beitar Ilit, Bnei Brak, Manchester, Australia, Beis Shemesh, London, Antwerp, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Monsey, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey.
Machnovka is a Hasidic dynasty and part of the Belz and Chernobyl dynastic group of families.
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah is the supreme rabbinical policy-making council of several related prestigious Haredi intra-national organizations.
Israel Friedman of Ruzhyn, also called Israel Ruzhin, was a Hasidic rebbe in 19th-century Ukraine and Austria. Known as Der Heiliger Ruzhiner, he conducted his court with regal pomp and splendor. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, who was said to be jealous of the Rebbe's wealth and influence, had the Rebbe imprisoned for nearly two years on an unsubstantiated murder charge. After his release, the Rebbe fled to Austria, where he re-established his court in Sadigura, Bukovina, attracted thousands of Hasidim, provided for the Hasidic community in Israel, and inaugurated the construction of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Izhbitza-Radzin is the name of a dynasty of Hasidic rebbes. The first rebbe of this dynasty was Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, author of Mei Hashiloach, in the city of Izhbitza.. Rabbi Mordechai Yosef founded his own Hasidic movement in the year 5600 (1839), with Rabbi Mordechai Yosef leaving the court of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk.
Kozhnitz is the name of a Hasidic dynasty founded by the Kozhnitzer Maggid, Rebbe Yisroel Hopsztajn. Kozhnitz is the Yiddish name of Kozienice, a town in present-day Poland.
Shtefanesht was a Hasidic dynasty named for the town of Ştefăneşti, Romania. It was one of the branches of the Ruzhiner dynasty, together with Bohush, Boyan, Chortkov, Husiatyn, and Sadigura. The dynasty lasted from 1851 to 1933 and had only two Rebbes: Rabbi Menachem Nochum Friedman, a son of the Ruzhiner Rebbe, and Rabbi Avrohom Mattisyohu Friedman, the only son of Rabbi Menachem Nochum. During the latter’s reign, Ştefăneşti became one of the most important Hasidic centers in Eastern Europe.
Kerestir is a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rebbe Yeshaya Steiner. Kerestir is the Yiddish name of Bodrogkeresztúr, a town in Hungary. Reb Yeshaya lived at 67 Kossuth Utca the house still serves today thousands of people annually.
Skolya is a Hasidic dynasty named after the town of Skole in Eastern Galicia, where the founder of this dynasty lived and led his court.
Radomsk is a Hasidic dynasty named after the town of Radomsko in Łódź province, south-central Poland. The dynasty was founded in 1843 by Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz, one of the great Hasidic masters of 19th-century Poland. His son, grandson and great-grandson led the dynasty in turn, attracting thousands of followers. On the eve of World War II, Radomsk was the third largest Hasidic dynasty in Poland, after Ger and Alexander.
Avrohom Yaakov Friedman was the fifth Rebbe of the Sadigura Hasidic dynasty. In 1979 he succeeded his father, the fourth Sadigura Rebbe, and took his seat on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. He oversaw the growth of Sadigura communities in Israel and in London, Antwerp, and New York City.