Rabbi Zev Dov Slonim, Pillar of Jerusalem with Hebron Roots Mourned

Leading rabbi passes away at age 84.

23.12.18, 12:12
(PHOTO: Rabbi Zev Dov Slonim speaking in Hebron at the annual gathering for his ancestor Rebbetzen Menucha Rochel Slonim. Credit: Jewish Community of Hebron)
Rabbi Zev Dov Slonim, rabbi of central Jerusalem passed away at the age of 84. A leading authority in Jerusalem, he served the downtown area and headed the historic Nachalat Yaakov Synagogue for over 40 years, the first synagogue to be built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. He was also a member of the Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbinical Alliance in Israel and Jerusalem’s Chassidic chevra kadisha (burial society).


Rabbi Slonim's family came from Hebron and every year he attended the memorial service for Menucha Rochel Slonim, the 19th century matriarch of Hebron of whom he is a descendant.

He was named after his paternal grandfather, a leader of the Chabad community in Hebron. Zev Dov Slonim of the old yishuv was wounded in a dispute with a non-Jewish neighbor over building rights at the historic Avraham Avinu synagogue. Despite his injuries he appeared in Jerusalem with a delegation. They succeeded in preventing construction on top of the synagogue which worshipers surmised would lead to an eventual takeover. He died from his wounds in 1898. 

Rabbi Slonim's parents, Hebron natives Rabbi Yehuda Leib and Sheina Liba Slava Slonim, relocated to Jerusalem just a few months before the 1929 massacre.

The riots, instigated by Haj Amin El Husseini, resulted in 67 civilians killed. The survivors were deported by the British authorities. Family members that were murdered included Hebron city council member Eliezer Dan Slonim, his wife Hannah, their 5-year-old son Aharon, and in-laws, Rabbi Avraham Yaakov and Yente Orlansky. 

As a youth Rabbi Slonim studied at the Hebron Yeshiva which had relocated to Jerusalem after the massacre. He also studied at the world famous Mir Yeshiva under Rabbi Yechezkel Levinstein.


Together with his wife Gitel Leah, he created the Chitas, a handy volume that combines the Chumash (Hebrew Bible), Tehillim (Psalms) and Tanya (main work of Chabad hasidic thought.)

For years, Chabad rebbes have encouraged daily study of all three texts together, but no one had incorporated it into one book before.

In Israel alone, thousands of volumes have been printed. In recent years, the Chitas gave rise to’s daily study section, as well as to weekly pamphlets (notably the English-Hebrew Chayenu).

Rabbi Slonim's other published works include:

* Sha'arei Halacha: Responsa in Halacha, two volumes
* Halachot Olam: Laws and Customs of the Month of Elul, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
* Pardes Ha-Parsha: two volumes
In addition to Nachalat Yaakov, now run by his son, Rabbi Slonim also served the historic Chabad synagogue in Mea Shearim, as did his father before him. He initiated the renaming of the street on which the synagogue is located to Baal HaTanya Street, named for his ancestor, the first Chabad rebbe. He also served at the synagogue in the nearby Bikur Cholim Hospital and met with prisoners at the Russian Compound police detention center.


Rabbi Slonim was predeceased by his wife in 2014. He is survived by their children, all of whom serve as Chabad emissaries: Rabbi Aharon Slonim (Binghamton, N.Y.); Rabbi Shneur Zalman Slonim (São Paulo, Brazil); Hadassah Osdoba (Jerusalem); Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Slonim (Jerusalem); Rabbi Baruch Slonim (Modi’in, Israel); Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Chaim Slonim (Mitzpe Ramon, Israel); and Rabbi Yaakov Slonim (Givat Mordechai, Israel). He is also survived by his sister, Devorah Kesselman of Kfar Chabad, Israel; as well as many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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