The Jews of Krakow and its Surrounding Towns


The Krakow Rabbinate

The following is a list of Chief Rabbis, Roshei Yeshiva, and Avot Beit Din for Krakow starting in the middle of the 16th Century. These positions were the most prestigious rabbinical ones, and sometimes they overlapped. Those listed in the first column below were, in many cases, also Avot Beit Din simultaneously, but there were exceptions. For example, Joshua ben Yosef is known to have given Yom Tov Lipman HELLER the job of Chief Rabbi in exchange for the lower-paying job of Rosh Yeshiva at some point; but insisted on retaining his position as Av Beit Din.

The dates are believed to be accurate, although there are one or two dates which are controversial. In view of the time span that this list covers, some data needs verification and clarification. These points are:

  • Natan Nata SPIRA and Yoel SIRKES shared the two jobs, but there is some controversy over the time period that Natan Nata SPIRA served as Chief Rabbi, if at all.

  • Isaac HARIF was apparently Av Beit Din prior to his death in 1683. This conflicts with the next point.

  • Moshe HARIF apparently served as Rabbi and Av Beit Din for over 40 years until his death in 1688. However, Abraham Joshua Heschel served within this time period. Possibly they shared duties for part of this time.

  • Confirmation of the dates for power sharing between Joshua ben Yosef and Yom Tov HELLER.

  • The surname of Moshe Shlomo Zalman could possibly be AUERBACH, but this needs confirmation.

Anyone who can clarify these points should please contact the webmaster (follow link in menu above).

(Data provided by Heshel Teitelbaum)

Rabbi                              Rosh Yeshiva

1550-1572       Moshe Isserles                 1550-1572       Moshe Isserles (Remah)
                                               1572-1576       Mordechai Saba SINGER 
                                                               b. Jacob
1576-1582       Isaac b. David SPIRA
1582-1591       Yosef ben Gershon KATZ         1576-1591       Yosef ben Gershon KAC
                                                               (brother-in-law of Remah)
1617-1618       Nathan Nata SPIRA              1617-1633       Nathan Nata SPIRA
1618-1640       Yoel SIRKES (Bach)             1633-1640       Yoel SIRKES (Bach)
1640-1643       Joshua ben Yosef HARIF         1640-1648       Joshua ben Yosef HARIF 
                                                               (M'ginei Shlomo)
1643-1654       Yom Tov Lipman HELLER              -1654       Mordechai MARGOLIOS
1654-1663       Joshua Heschel                 1654-1663       Joshua Heschel
1663-1688       Moshe HARIF (son of Joshua)	
1688-1694       Moshe ENZELS
1694-1706       Mordechai DEICHES
    -1713       Yitzchal Eyzyk ZAK
1713-1731       Yehuda Leib ZAK
1731-1741       David Schmelke ZAK
1742-1745       Yosef Yonah FRENKEL
1745-1751       David Schmelke ZAK
1754-1769       Isaac LANDAU                   1754-1769       Isaac LANDAU	
1776-1799       Isaac Ha-LEVI	
1799-1816       Moshe Shlomo Zalman
1816-1832       Tzvi Hirsch David Ha-LEVI
1832-1856       Dov Ber MEISELS
1860-1883       Shimon SCHREIBER-SOFER
1925-1933       Yosef Nechemia KORNITZER

Batei Din

1680-1683       Isaac SEGAL-HARIF-SPITZKOPF, son of Benjamin Wolf. Isaac was the
                great-grandfather of Isaac LANDAU (the Rabbi from 1754-1769).

    -1701       Saul (son of Joshua Heschel, the Rabbi from 1654-1663).

1831            (There were 2 Batei Din in this year)

                Dov Ber MEISELS (Av Beit Din)   Saul Rafael LANDAU (Av Beit Din)
                S. KOHN                         Kalman REINHOLD
                Lazar DAMASK (1772-1847)        M. LANDAU
                M. HOROWITZ                     Szmelke HOROWITZ
                J. FRANKFURTER                  Zelig GELDWERTH
                A. HIRSZ                        P. LANDAU
                A. JENNER