Cover Story

Shtadlanim of the 20th Century


An intercessor figure for the local Jewish community. Beginning in medieval Europe, the shtadlan represented the interests of the Jewish community to those in power.

Today American Orthodox Jewry is vibrant, confident and politically savvy. But its current state is, in no small part, due to the efforts of a number of determined and fearless individuals who were dedicated to the cause of Klal Yisrael. Whether it was saving Jews from the Nazi inferno, rescuing Soviet Jewry trapped behind the Iron Curtain, advocating for the safety and security of Jews in Eretz Yisrael, or championing so many other vital causes, these modern-day shtadlanim were not only charismatic and brilliant, they were driven by a burning sense of achrayut, responsibility to care for their fellow Jews. In the pages ahead, we pay tribute to these forward-thinking visionaries, “shtadlanim of the twentieth century.”

*Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Sara Goldberg, photo editor of this section, and to the many individuals who assisted in obtaining the photos used in this section. Shulamith Z. Berger and Sara Saiger, Yeshiva University Archives; Judith Dinowitz, Agudath Israel Archives; Ruti Feiner and Rabbi Moshe Rockove, BMG Archives; Joanna Church, Jewish Museum of Maryland; Eli Greengart, Ner Israel Rabbinical College; Paul Jacobs, Avi Schick, David Safier, and Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter

Please note that the section on shtadlanim is limited to those who are deceased, did their advocacy work in America primarily during the twentieth century, and were Torah observant. It is not in any way meant to be comprehensive.

For readers interested in commenting on or identifying individuals in photos, please contact

In This Section

The Shtadlan in Jewish History: A Conversation with Dr. Henry Abramson by Faigy Grunfeld

Rabbi Herschel Schacter by Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter

Dr. Jacob Birnbaum by Sandy Eller

Irving Bunim by Merri Ukraincik

Stephen Klein by Rochel Licht

Rabbi Joseph Karasick by Sandy Eller

Zev Wolfson by Jonathan Rosenblum

Dr. Marvin Schick by Steve Lipman

Rabbi Herman Naftali Neuberger by Aviva Engel

Elimelech Gavriel (Mike) Tress by Jonathan Rosenblum

Rabbi Moshe Sherer by Jonathan Rosenblum

Moses Feuerstein by Leah Lightman

Rabbi Dr. Israel Miller by Steve Lipman

Harold M. Jacobs by Dr. Rafael Medoff

This article was featured in the Winter 2021 issue of Jewish Action.
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