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.
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