R' Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin)

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Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin)

Hebrew: מאיר בר אילן
Birthplace: Valožyn, Minsk, Belarus
Death: April 18, 1949 (68-69)
Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of R' Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, The Netziv of Volozhin and Batya Miriam (Mirel) Berlin
Husband of Beila Bar Ilan
Father of Yehudith Lieberman; Shulamit Halkin and Tuvia (Toby) Bar-Ilan
Brother of Rabbi Yaakov Berlin; M Berlin; Private and Shifra Berlin / Berliner
Half brother of Rabbi Chaim Berlin ABD Moscow; Sarah Rasha Shapiro; Drayzel Shapiro and Michael Berlin

Managed by: Private User
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About R' Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin)

Meir Berlin, later Hebraized to Meir Bar-Ilan, (1880-1949), born Volozhin, Lithuania, died Jerusalem, Israel) was an Orthodox rabbi and leader of Religious Zionism, the Mizrachi movement in USA and British Mandate of Palestine. He inspired the founding of Bar Ilan University in Israel which is named for him.


He was a scholar of Talmud as well as the son of an important Haredi rabbi, Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, known as the Netziv, who was the head of the famous Volozhin Yeshiva in Lithuania. He studied in the traditional yeshivas of Volozhin, Telshe, Brisk and Novardok, where he learned with his grandfather, the renowned Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein. Gaining Semicha in 1902, he travelled to Germany where he became acquainted with a more modern form of Orthodox Judaism that had a more tolerant attitude to secular education and to political Zionism (although such attitudes were also present in the Lithuania of his youth, and in his grandfather). There, he attended the University of Berlin.

[edit] Mizrachi movement

In 1905 he joined the Mizrachi movement, representing it at the Seventh Zionist Congress, voting against the "Uganda Proposal" to create a "temporary" Jewish "homeland" in Uganda in East Africa, as suggested by Great Britain.

In 1911 he was appointed secretary of the world Mizrachi (Religious Zionism) movement. In 1913 he came to the United States and developed local Mizrachi groups into a national organisation, chairing the 1st U.S. Mizrachi convention, held in Cincinnati in 1914. In 1915 he became president of the U.S. Mizrachi, holding the position until 1928, whereupon he became honorary president. He was an active member of the JDC during World War I, also serving as vice president of the Central Relief Committee of New York City in 1916. He founded the Mizrachi Teachers Institute in 1917. In 1925 he became a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund devoted to financing the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland in the then British Mandate of Palestine. In 1923, he also briefly served as acting president what is now Yeshiva University during the temporary absence of its then-president, Bernard Revel.

In 1923 he moved to Jerusalem. He opposed the Palestine partition plan in 1937, and of the British White Paper of 1939, he advocated civil disobedience and non-cooperation by the Jews with the British.

He was president of the Talmudical Encyclopedia, on the board of directors of the Mizrachi Bank, the founder and editor of Hatzofeh in Tel Aviv in 1939, and authored:

   * Fun Volozhin biz Yerushalayim (autobiography) in 2 volumes (in Yiddish, NYC in 1933; in Hebrew, Tel Aviv, 1939-40)
   * Bishvil ha-Techiah (Tel Aviv, 1940)
   * Raban shel Yisrael (NYC, 1943)

Along with Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin, he was also the editor of the Talmudical Encyclopedia Volume I (Jerusalem, 1946) and Volume II (published posthumously in 1949). He wrote articles on Talmudic subjects for various periodicals and died in Jerusalem, Israel, on April 17, 1949.

[edit] Scholarship

After 1948, his activities were scholastically oriented. He organized a committee of scholars to examine the legal problems of the new state in the light of Jewish law and founded an institute for the publication of a new complete edition of the Talmud. He also served as Minister of Religion in the Israeli government.

Bar-Ilan University

He inspired the founding of Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, founded in 1950, by the American Mizrachi movement, which is named for him: "The name Bar-Ilan was chosen, in honor of Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin), a spiritual leader who led traditional Judaism from the ashes of Europe to rebirth and renaissance in the Land of Israel." Bar-Ilan Street in Jerusalem is also named for him.



an Orthodox rabbi and leader of religious Zionism, the Mizrachi movement in the U.S. and the British Mandate of Palestine. He inspired the founding of Bar Ilan University, which is named for him.

added by Pam Karp Source:

Unbroken Chain - Neil Rosenstein Chapter V, page 435, G 14.4

Joined the Mizrachi movement and attended the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905 where he was opposed to the Uganda Scheme. In 1911 he was appointed secretary of the world Mizrachi movement, in Berlin and in 1915 moved to New York and served as president of the U.S. Mizrachi.

In 1926 he settled in Jerusalem where he remained a central figiure in the Zionist Religious Movement, founding the religious Zionist weekly HaIvri and later editor of the Mizrachi daily HaTzofeh. In 1947 he initiated publication of the Talmudic Encyclopaedia, Bar Ilan University, the Hebron hills forest called Meir Forest and moshav Beit Meir are all named after him. He married on May 14, 1903 to Bella, daughter of Tuvia Rabinowitz (and his wife Frieda Fine)

About R' Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin) (עברית)

יו"ר המרכז העולמי של תנועת המזרחי

על שמו קרויה אוניברסיטת בר אילן, בית מאיר....

בן זקוניו של הנצי"ב מוולוז'ין. למד בטלז בבריסק ובנובהרדוק. בגיל צעיר הצטרף לציונות. כל שנותיו פעל למען המזרחי בגרמניה ובארצות הברית. בשנת תרפ"ו עלה לארץ והתייצב בראש התנועה העולמית של המזרחי. ייסד את הצופה, מפעל התורה והאנצקלופדיה התלמודית. היה חבר הנהלת הסוכנות היהודית שבה ייצג את המזרחי. עד אחרון ימיו כיהן כנשיא התנועה העולמית של המזרחי.

(משנת הציונות הדתית)

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R' Meir Bar-Ilan (Berlin)'s Timeline

Minsk, Belarus
August 14, 1904
December 28, 1912
April 18, 1949
Age 69
Jerusalem, Israel