Skulen (Hasidic dynasty)

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Rabbi Israel Abraham Portugal - Grand Rebbe of Skulen - lighting Hanukkah candles Skulen2.JPG
Rabbi Israel Abraham Portugal - Grand Rebbe of Skulen - lighting Hanukkah candles

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.

Hasidic Judaism Jewish religious sect

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 Sovereign state in Europe

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 (Hasidic dynasty)

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.

Lineage of Skulener Dynasty

Spiritual legacy

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 City of regional significance in Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine

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.

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  1. כליל תפארת. (in Hebrew). Zhovkva. First published 1865. Retrieved April 3, 2013.Check date values in: |year= (help)