Rapoport-Bick (rabbinic Dynasty)

Rapoport-Bick (rabbinic Dynasty)

The Rapoport-Bick dynasty was the most important of all the non-chasidic rabbinic dynasties of Medzhybizh, in Ukraine. The Rapoport dynasty traces its roots back to Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697–1776) who was involved in the Frankist debates of 1757 and his father Rabbi Tsvi Hirsh Ashkenazi, known as the Chacham Tsvi (1660–1718). The Rapoports themselves are a long distinguished rabbinic family that traces its roots back to Central Europe and Northern Italy in the 15th century.

Here is a pedigree chart of the Rapoport lineage:

  • R. Yakov Moshe Kohen Rapa (1400s)
  • R. Abraham Menakhem Kohen Rapa
  • R. Gershon Kohen Rapa (b. 1538), Porto, Italy
  • R. Simcha Katz Rapa
  • R. Moses Jeremiah Katz Rapoport, rabbi in Vienna
  • R. Meir haKohen Rapoport (d. 1600), rabbi in Belz
  • R. Nakhman Rapoport (d. 1674), rabbi in Kamenets-Podolsky, Poznań, Dubno
  • R. Simkha haKohen Rapoport (d. 1717)
  • R. Khaim haKohen Rapoport (d. 1771), rabbi in Lviv
  • R. Arieh Leib Rapoport (d. 1759), rabbi in Prezwork
  • R. Dov Berish Rapoport (d. 1823), rabbi in Medzhybizh, married into the Emden family
  • Rapoport-Bick (rabbinic dynasty)

The first Rapoport rabbi to make his home in Medzhybizh was Rabbi Dov Berish Rapoport (d. 1823). He was the grandson of Rabbi Khaim haCohen Rapoport of Lvov (d. 1771), who was also involved in the Frankist debates. Rabbi Dov Berish became the head of the Jewish court (Av Beit Din) and spiritual leader of the entire Jewish community of Medzhybizh. However, in a dispute with Rabbi Moshe Khaim Ephraim, the Baal Shem Tov's grandson, around the year 1800, the non-Chasidic and the Chasidic communities separated into two groups. The Rapoport-Bick family continued to control the town's Jewish court. The Chasidic community at the time chose Rabbi Issachar Dov-Ber Landa to represent them in official matters. Interestingly, both Rabbis Rapoport and Landa are buried side-by-side in the Medzhybizh Jewish Cemetery, just a few steps away from the Baal Shem Tov's grave.

The Bick family were responsible for the official religious "business" of the community, such as relations with the Russian authorities and kashrut rulings. They were based out of R. Joel Sirkes' synagogue in Medzhybizh - the town shul. The name, BICK, is an acronym in Hebrew for "Defender of the Faith." Other members of the family included R. Isaac Bick who was the head of the Beit Din in Medzhybizh until 1922 when he left for Rhode Island by way of Hester St. in NY City. His two Eldest sons also became rabbis, Shoyl (Shaul) in Brooklyn, and Hyam (Herman)in Massachusetts. There are still rabbis of the Bick family today who have congregations in Brooklyn and in Israel.

The last rabbi of any type to live in Medzhybizh was Rabbi Chaim Yechiel Mikhl Bick (1887–1964). He left in 1925 for New York. (This excludes any rabbis who may have been deported to the Medzhybizh ghetto during World War II, of which no specific records survive.)

Read more about Rapoport-Bick (rabbinic Dynasty):  Lineage of Dynasty, Bibliography

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