The People of Motol


Chaim Weizmann

Chaim Weizmann ( 1874 – 1952) is probably the most famous of Motol’s sons and daughters.  In fact, many people refer to Motol as “Motol, the birthplace of Chaim Weizmann.”  Dr. Weizmann did not remain in Motol, however.  When he was still a boy, the family moved to Pinsk.  In later life he lived in Germany and England and then emigrated to Palestine.  By profession Dr. Weizmann was a 

Weitzman full image_1.jpg (379227 bytes)
The Weizmann Family
from Motol

chemist, responsible for several important discoveries.  However, he is most well known for his leadership of the Zionist movement and for his tireless work to establish Israel as a Jewish homeland.  He held the position as the president of the World Zionist Organization and, when Israel became independent, he served as the first president of the State of Israel.  Dr. Weizmann also founded and directed the Daniel Sieff Research Institute in Rehovot, Israel.  That institution is now known as the Weizmann Research Institute.  Several books about Dr. Weizmann, including his autobiography Trial and Error, are listed in the Motol bibliography.  Some of the books describe life in Motol when he lived there.  The Weizmann Archives are located at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.

Chaim Weizmann once came to Chicago for a Zionist meeting being held at the Stevens (now Conrad Hilton) hotel on Michigan Blvd.  Jacob Bitensky, our Grandpa's best friend, went to the hotel to see his boyhood friend, Chaim Weitzmann.  The guards wouldn't let him in.  He told them, "Go to Chaim Weitzmann and tell him that Yankel Bitensky is here to see him."  Weitzmann came out of the meeting.  Bitensky grabbed him by the arm and told him that all the Moteler landsleit were waiting to see him at the (old) Moteler shul.  Not being able to resist, Chaim Weitzman left the Zionist meeting and went to see his Moteler landsleit.  (Credit -The Jewish Sentinel, Chicago)


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Rabbi Saul Lieberman (1898 - 1983).  

Born in Motol and emigrated to the US in 1940.  He was ordained at the Slobodka Yeshiva in 1916 and received a Master of Arts degree from the Hebrew University in 1931.  From 1935 to 1940, he was dean of the Harry Fischel Institute  in Jerusalem.  A Torah scholar, author and lecturer, he was president of the American Academy for Jewish Research and was head of the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. According to The New York Times; 24 March 1983; Section II, page 10, column 3:  "In 1971, Rabbi Lieberman, the seminary's Distinguished Research Professor of Talmud, became the only non-Israeli ever to receive the Israel Prize for his writings, particularly "Siphre Zutta:  The Midrash of Lydda," a definitive edition of this Rabbinic commentary.  In 1976, he received the annual $35,000 Harvey Prize of the Israel Institute of Technology for his research on Palestine in the Greek and Roman eras and his two books on Jewish life in the Hellenistic period.  Another of his projects was a definitive edition of the Tosefta, a collection of Jewish oral traditions.  He had published 12 volumes of a planned 14 volumes of the work....Rabbi Lieberman was buried in Jerusalem.  There are no known survivors."  Taken from...

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