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Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer

December 5th, 2007 · 94 Comments

Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer

יהודה ליב ב"ר אברהם

Chief Rabbi, Holyoke, Massachusetts

Date of Death: Fri. September 17, 1948 - Elul 13 5708

Anyone with biographical information is asked to please send it in.
See CONTACT page for details. Thank you.


Cemetery Details
747 Pendleton Avenue
Chicopee, MA 01020
United States



Cemetery Map:

Notes: Cemetery is open 24 hours and serves the Holyoke community.

Directions to Kever: Congregation Rodphey Shalom Cemetery of Holyoke is located in nearby Chicopee, Massachusetts. Location: Large ohel

Name Listed on Cemetery Database: Forer

Biographical Notes:

Forer Yehuda Leib

Credit: Needed
Forer Wedding
Photo Caption: The Rav at the wedding of Rabbi Abe and Selma Schoen, 1946, Photo Credit:  Susan A. Schoen

Source: Needed
Chaim Soloveitchik Brisker
Photo Caption: Rav Chaim  Soloveitchik of Brisk, d. 1918, Credit: N/N

Bio Information:
Rav Forer was known as the illu of Pruzhina and was ordained by Rav Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk.

Credit: Reb Dov, Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Credit: Reb Dov, Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Credit: Reb Dov, Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Credit: Reb Dov, Kew Gardens Hills, NY

Tags: Chief Rabbi · Massachusetts

94 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chacham // Jan 20, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Sharon, if your not related to the Leib Forer on this page why are you here telling everyone about your family tree? Your obviously not related to the people that have any interest here!

  • 2 Al Belsky // Feb 7, 2013 at 1:18 am

    In 1968, I wrote a senior honors paper at the University of Massachusetts about the Holyoke Jewish community, focusing on the years between the World Wars. I had some information about Rabbi Forer in that paper, but I do remember him from my childhood in Holyoke. Although I was very young, I can still recall the high madreigah of kavanah in which he davened on High Holidays in the old Rodphey Sholom building. I will share the senior thesis with those who would like to read it, but please keep in mind that I was only 21 when I wrote it and I had access to relatively few original sources.

  • 3 Moshe Escott // Feb 8, 2013 at 2:23 am

    My father in law grew up in Holyoke and he would be interested. Please email me a copy if you can to

  • 4 Allan Schoen // Feb 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    my father was Simon Schoen and my grandfather was Abraham Schoen and my grandmother was Golda Klein all of Washington DC I’m not sure of any lineage other than possibly in New York. my grandfather Abraham was very active in the Jewish community in Washington DC being president of 2 synagogues of which I do not remember the nameI knew that we had some relatives in New York New England area Area 1 of which was an attorney who was license to appear but for the US Supreme CourtI would be very interested on any information about my past family or information I could provide with all I would also be inclined to do

  • 5 Howard Forer // Apr 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Hello, i have the family tree for my forer family and a cousin to Sharon Finestone – i wish to contact MAX regarding his post back in 2010 regarding “Nechemia Pruzansky”, or a Fila Bakanovsky” “Bakanowsky” or “Bokinavski”

    they are on my tree and i wish get in touch with him

  • 6 litvak613 // Apr 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Al Belsky,

    I would like to see your senior thesis. My dad is from Fall River and my grandfather was the shochet in Fall River and in North Hampton MA.

    Let me know I’ll post my email address. TY

  • 7 Al Belsky // May 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm


    I can send a copy of the paper to you, however, it does not examine the Northampton Jewish community, even though Northampton is just a few miles from Holyoke.

  • 8 Hillel // Jun 5, 2013 at 9:45 am

    “Rabbi Leib Tropper’s Grandfather,the genius of Vabolnik and The Rabbi of Holyoke, Massachusetts

    Rabbi Leib Forer, ob’m the grandfather of Rabbi Leib Tropper was AKA the Genius of Vabolnik, Lithuania. A city not far from the Lithuanian city called Ponoviz.
    Rabbi Leib Forer reached the shores of america in 1927. The Jewish Media as few as existed during the 1920’s welcomed him with proclamations from respected Rabbanim in the united states.

    At the tender age of 14, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer was sent to learn at the yeshiva of Cordon headed by the Great Scholar, Rav Shimon Shkop,ob’m Rav YD Halevi soloveitchik, ob’m told Rabbi Leib Tropper that when Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer was fifteen years of age, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer went to learn in the spiritual paradise
    of the Torah world known as Volozin. He was the study partner of the genius of maitzt, Ob’m and of Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, ob’m the Son of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. This latter partnership was set up by Rav Chaim himself.

    Rav Yehuda Tropper, the father of Rabbi Leib Tropper told his son that Rav Shimon Shkop, who Loved Rabbi Leib Forer dearly, had an idea for Rabbi Yehuda Leib. He introduced a young lady by the name of Chaya Menucha Musha Gefen, ob’m to Rabbi Yehuda Leib. The proposed young lady was a descendant of the Torah Sage blessed with one of the sharpest minds, named R’ Moshe Charif, ob’m which means R’ Moshe the sharp one.

    Rav Moshe Charif, ob’m was very close to R’ Akiva Eiger,ob’m. Soon after Rabbi Forer’s arrival to America, he was invited to become the Rabbi of Holyoke. He did not have much income, so although Holyoke was not his dream job, he accepted the position. Rabbi Leib Tropper heard from Rav Henkin,ob’m that R’ Akiva Eiger would address R’ moshe charif as “My student, My Friend The Torah giant ,R’ Moshe”.


  • 9 shmuel blumber // Jun 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    al- if you can pls email me a copy of your senior thesis.

  • 10 Alyse // Nov 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Like my cousin Eileen wrote above, I stumbled on this site when I was searching for information about my great Uncle Rabbi Abe Schoen. I am the daughter of Maxine Ezorsky Berger, who is first cousins with mitchel, Eileen and Gail. My grandmother always talked about the Forer and Sasson families and the great scholars that emerged for the family.
    I would love to learn more and to see the family tree.

  • 11 Jim Yarin // Nov 10, 2013 at 11:31 am

    2 things, please: Al Belsky, please send me a copy of your paper.
    Also, Mark Weiner please email me about the Weiner history in Holyoke (sorry off topic).

    jimyarin at Verizon dot net

  • 12 leib Tropper // Jan 6, 2014 at 1:58 am

    My Grandfather,Zt’l Hagaon Harav Forer was one
    Who carried a disdain for kovod. I discovered many
    Stories about Harav Forer through various Rabbonim
    If you wish to hear I can be reached @ 1-845-558-6297

  • 13 leib Tropper // Jan 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I had the opportunity to speak With Harav Shach,zt’l about My Grandfather, Harav Forer,zt’l
    One of the things he said about him is that he
    Had a quick and extraordinary sharp mind…hard
    To match.

  • 14 Chaim F // Apr 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Allan Shoen

    sorry it took so long to return to this blog. the lawyer licensed before the Supreme Court was Joseph Forer a nephew of Rav Forer, son of Rav Forer’s brother, Chaim Yochanan. He appeared before the Supreme Court many times. Your uncle was Rabbi Jacob Schoen? Wonderful person and my father’s first cousin (my grandfather and his mother were brother and sister).

  • 15 Susan Schoen // Apr 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Yehuda Leib Forer was my great uncle. My father, Rabbi Abe W. Schoen, was the son of Goldie Schoen who was the sister of J.L. Forer. I would like to post a photo of J.L. Forer that taken at the wedding of my parents in 1946. Please let m e know how I can do this!

  • 16 Josh S // Apr 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Mrs. Schoen,

    We would love to see the picture. I asked the website administrator to contact you so you can upload the photo. My grandfather was the shochet in North Hampton & Fall River and met with Rabbi Forer a number of time. We still have a letter Rabbi Forer wrote to my grandfather as proof for his reliability in shechita.

  • 17 chaim Weinstock // Aug 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

    In Chachmei Yisroel of New England, P. 50 there is a picture of him with a short bio

  • 18 Moshe Escott // Aug 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    חכמי ישראל דניו ענגלאנד is available (for viewing – not downloading) on openlibrary at

    To view the eBook, you need to establish an account at (it’s free) and also install Adobe Digital Editions.

  • 19 Leib Tropper // Sep 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Hagaon Rav Asher Zimmerman ,zt’l once told me
    That my grandfather ,zt’l went to visit Hagaon Harav Elchonon Wasserman, hy’d. When he entered his hotel room at the Riverside plaza, Harav Forer did not greet Rav Elchonon with the
    Traditional ‘shalom Aleichem ‘ . Rav Leib forer
    Immediately started his discussion with asking a
    Profound question on a Mishna in the second Perek of Mishnayos klaim.

  • 20 leib Tropper // Oct 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

    My Grandfather was nifter of stomach cancer according to his physician,Dr Jaffe. He suffered
    Much pain. He died on a friday. Rav JB Soloveitchik
    And Rav Hutner attended the funeal amongst other great Scholars.

  • 21 Susan Schoen // Oct 7, 2014 at 6:35 am

    I have just located a very good photo of my great uncle, Rav J.L. Forer. This photo was framed and on display in my home throughout my childhood. J.L Forer was the mentor of my father, Rabbi Abe W. Schoen, of blessed memory. I would like someone to contact me and tell me how I might post it on your site. I have already asked about posting another photo of him from my parents’ wedding, but I never heard from your site administrator.

  • 22 Martin // Oct 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    My grandfather was Alter Forer , born in Pruzina in 1888 and immigrated to NY with his mother and two siblings in 1903. His father was Abraham Forer and came to NY earlier. He lived at, 3 Eldridge St., NYC. Across the street is the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the oldest in NY. Are they related to Rav Yehuda Lieb Forer?

  • 23 leib Tropper // Oct 28, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I am pretty confident that abe forer who I once met
    For 2 or 3 minutes was either a brother or cousin of
    The Torah giant, Rabbi YL Forer,ob’m

  • 24 leib Tropper // Oct 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    The Genius of Vabolnik, Rabbi Leib Forer,obm
    Was friendly with the genius of Visky, Rabbi yaakov
    Safsol.ob’m. Rabbi forer visited him at least once
    On the lower E side.

  • 25 l tropper // Dec 9, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Rav Gifter Zt’L would often visit Rav Forer to Discuss halachic issues

  • 26 leib tropper // Oct 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    My Grandfather,Rav Leib Forer ob’m gave yoreh
    Deah classes in Yeshiva university for a short while.
    He also gave a shiur in Mesivta Rabbenu Chaim Berlin for a short time

  • 27 leib tropper // Dec 23, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Leib Tropper-Rabbi forer’s grandson visited the grave of his grandfather over 5 Times.

  • 28 leib tropper // Dec 23, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Leib Tropper-Rabbi forer’s grandson visited the grave of his grandfather over 5 Times. My Grandfather corresponded with Rav Henkin, zt’l

  • 29 leib tropper // Jan 5, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Rav Yaakov Weinberg,zt’l Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel considered himself a Talmid of Rav Leib, zt’l
    He was Ordained By Harav Leib Forer,zt’l. Rav Elya
    Romnick,shlita is also a Talmid of my grandfather zt’l. Rav Ruderman, zt’l told me that he was the quickest mind he ever met.

  • 30 leib Tropper // Jan 20, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Regarding your inquiry about my great great grandfather, Rav Moshe Charif,zt’l Rabbi Shlomo
    Carlebach (the singer) Ob’m was also his descendant

  • 31 Chana Stubenhaus // Jun 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    My name is Chana Stubenhaus and this is the first time I’ve been to this website. My mother A”H was the youngest daughter of R’ Yehudah Leib Forer, Aidel Sasoon. Many of the names I see here are familiar as my mother spoke a great deal about her life in Holyoke, where she, her sister Rose, and her sister Rivkah were the only observant children in the community. She always spoke lovingly of her cousin, Chaim Schoen, and I remember him visiting us. She also spoke affectionately of the Belsky family and considered them very close friends. As a matter of fact their graves are right next to the graves of my grandparents. We have many Menuchas in the family, many Boruch Leibs, My father A”H was named Boruch Leib and in my aunt’s family there are a lot of Leibels because she was married to my uncle Yehudah Tropper A”H. Finally after 67 years there is a name after my grandfather. When she had a son 2 years ago, my daughter named him Yehudah Leib. I hope he will grow up to be the kind of person my grandfather was. Not only was he a genius in learning, but he was knowledgeable about the world as well. He was kind but rigidly honest. All the gedolim of his era were proud to be called his friend and would travel long distances to study with him. Talmidim from Chaim Berlin, YU and Chofetz Chaim would travel to Holyoke to get smicha from him, not an easy task. He did not only test a talmid’s knowledge in learning but also his character. My mother gave up her bed many times to those who stayed with them while trying to acquire smicha from my grandfather. I don’t know how or why he somehow got lost in Holyoke. Perhaps it was his disdain for the quest of honor which kept him there or maybe, it was there that he could be free to be himself. I never knew him. He was niftar right before I was born, but I have heard enough about him and read some of his papers, which my mother translated, to love him as if I did.

  • 32 Max // Aug 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

    This message is for Howard Forer. I am Max from the 2010 message(see #5). You can reach me at

  • 33 Yaari // Aug 31, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Litfak613 – my grandfather is from Fall River. His father was rabbi there. Do you have any letters from him or pictures

  • 34 howard forer // May 10, 2018 at 6:25 pm


    this is a general post to everyone on this site.

    i would welcome anyone to contact me directly at regarding their relation to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer – as i maintain a large family tree and would like to share it and update it with you

    i have many of you already on my tree – i look forward to hearing from you

  • 35 litvak613 // Jun 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm


    Just seeing this – almost a year later ! email me

  • 36 Kevin Hale // Sep 5, 2018 at 7:33 am

    I am honored to be part of the Monday morning minyan at Congregation Rodphey Sholom in Holyoke, for many years the only weekly service conducted there. We noted that Rav Forer’s 70th yahrzeit was a week and a half ago, that two of our chevre have been working at the cemetery to shore up his ohel. I have a project to help envision Rodphey’s future, and key to that is understanding Jewish Holyoke’s history, but especially the 24 years of Rav Forer, and the undeniable demographic changes since. Part of the project would be a lecture/dvar torah to be given at Rodphey during hol ha moed Pesach in honor of Rav Forer. Al Belsky, I would be so grateful to read your senior thesis! Would you contact me at

  • 37 Kenneth Schoen // Mar 7, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Al Belsky please send me a copy of the theses also
    we have established a Jewish Historical Society to document and archive Jewish life in the Pioneer Valley including Rodphe
    thanks very much
    and Kevin keep m eposted on your project /materials etc.

  • 38 Jonathan Engel // Apr 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Some biographical information of rav yehudah leib forer is located on yutorah’s website in a shiur by rabbi rakeffet given in march 2016, on a sunday, “porat against the yu riets roshei yeshiva”, in the last few minutes of the shiur. Rav hayyim heller is also discussed, and earlier in the shiur has an intriguing character study of rav hershel schachter, shlita.

  • 39 Jonathan Engel // Apr 22, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    The short biography of Rav Yehuda Leib Forer by Rabbi Rakeffet can be found at,-2016/ beginning at 81:25 minutes in to the shiur and onward.

  • 40 leib Tropper // Nov 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Much more admiration and respect for Rav Leib Forer,OB’M,I learned. Rabbi’s and laymen had an unusual respect for truth that he spoke, even to his own detriment.

  • 41 leib Tropper // Feb 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    My Grandfather ob’m is still revered amongst great scholars.

  • 42 Yaakov Ulano // May 6, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Shalom ubracha, just happened on this site. Also raised in Holyoke. Harav Forer ztzl, married our parents in 1946 in Holyoke, where our mother, Shirley nee Cohen, tlit”a, grew up. No question that in his zchus many children from Holyoke found their way to shmiras miztvos. Zchuso tagein oleinu val kol klal yisroel

  • 43 Yaakov Ulano // May 6, 2020 at 4:58 am

    Shalom ubracha, just happened on this site. Also raised in Holyoke. Harav Forer ztzl, married our parents in 1946 in Holyoke, where our mother, Shirley nee Cohen, tlit”a, grew up. No question that in his zchus many children from Holyoke found their way to shmiras miztvos. Zchuso tagein oleinu val kol klal. YMU yisroel

  • 44 howard forer // Jul 3, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    hope all is well

    this is a general post to everyone on this site related to the rabbi. i’m related to all of you and I am one of a number working on our family tree.

    i would welcome anyone to contact me directly at regarding their relation to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Forer – as i maintain a large family tree and would like to share it and update it with you

    i have many of you already on my tree – i look forward to hearing from you


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