This Day In History 3 Nisan/March 30

Harav Yosef Yonah Tzvi Halevi Horowitz, the Unsdorf-Frankfurter Rav, Zt”l.

3 Nisan

In 5252/1492, the decree expelling Jews from Spain and Sicily was issued, after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed it.


Yahrtzeiten

5582/1822, Harav Binyamin Zev of Zhbariz, zt”l

5652/1892, Harav Eliezer Yerucham of Cracow, zt”l


5730/1970

Harav Yosef Yonah Zvi Halevi Horowitz, Zt”l, the Unsdorf–Frankfurter Rav

Harav Yosef Yonah Zvi Halevi Horowitz was born in 5652/1892 in the town of Unsdorf, Czechoslovakia. His father was Harav Yehudah Horowitz, son-in-law of the former Unsdorfer Rav, Harav Shmuel Rosenberg, zt”l, mechaber of Be’er Shmuel.

Reb Yehudah Horowitz was a direct descendant of the Baal Haflaah, Harav Pinchas Halevi Horowitz, zy”a, Av Beis Din and Rav of Frankfurt.

The influence of Reb Yosef Yonah Horowitz’s grandfather, the Be’er Shmuel, powerfully influenced his upbringing, along with the input and strong chinuch of his own parents. Even at a young age, while in his grandfather’s renowned yeshivah in Unsdorf, he excelled in his understanding of Gemara.

He received semichah from both his grandfather, the Be’er Shmuel and the Radomishler Rav, Harav Shmuel Engel, zt”l.

Reb Yosef Yonah became the son-in-law of Harav Yeshayah Zilberstein, zt”l, the Veitzener Rav and mechaber of Maaseh L’melech.

During World War I, when the Be’er Shmuel was already weak due to his advanced age, Reb Yosef Yonah assisted him with the yeshivah and in all facets of the Rabbanus in Unsdorf. When the Be’er Shmuel was niftar in 5679/1919, his talmidim immediately appointed Reb Yosef Yonah as his successor.

Reb Yosef Yonah fulfilled the role successfully.

In 5689/1929, Reb Yosef Yonah moved on to the Rabbanus in Frankfurt, Germany. It was this position that became the stepping-stone to a narrow escape from the Nazi reign of terror.

In that prewar decade, as Rav of Frankfurt, Reb Yosef Yonah established the only reliable beis din in Germany, to which the most complex halachic issues were referred. During that time, he accepted, as well, the exalted position of Nasi Agudas Yisrael.

He relocated to Holland, where his family later joined him. He became a Rav in England to families who had relocated from London to the suburb of Letchworth.

Friends from America urged him to resettle in that country. Thus, in 1950, Reb Yosef Yonah spearheaded the building of Yeshiva and Mesivta Be’er Shmuel of Boro Park.

In 1965 he moved on, leaving ybl”c his son Harav Moshe Horowitz at the helm of the yeshivah and of Khal Unsdorf, Be’er Shmuel d’Boro Park. He followed his heart to Bnei Brak in Eretz Yisrael. He turned down many offers to build an Unsdorfer yeshivah there — as he wanted to be a simple Yid, able to serve Hashem.

On 3 Nisan 5730/1970, after five years in Eretz Yisrael, Reb Yosef Yonah was niftar.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 30

In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.

In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million (the rough equivalent of $125 million today), a deal ridiculed by critics as “Seward’s Folly.”

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.

In 1870, Texas was readmitted to the Union.

In 1923, the Cunard liner RMS Laconia became the first passenger ship to circle the globe as it arrived in New York.