Reb Yitzchak Rappoport Tz’rnobroda and the redemption of Horvat Rabbi Yehuda Hassid

Itzhak Izik came to Siedlce from Kortz’ob, a town near Otwock. He was a great and God-fearing scholar, excelled in many virtues and was a charity seeker, and besides, he knew how to write well in Hebrew and Polish. Because he spent his entire life dealing in the Torah and the work, he could not deal with matters of livelihood, and his wife ran the trade. Rabbi  owned a paint shop, but at that time the paint trading market was limited, and to get permission to engage in it, one had to pass some kind of test. Itzhak Iizik passed the test and received permission to run the store.

Itzhak Izik frequently studied Kabbalah books and knew the Zohar well. Although he was an opponent, he traveled several times a year to the Maggid of Ko’znitz.

Itzhak Iizik could be considered the first “Hovev Zion” in Siedlce. The idea of “​​Hibbat Zion” was not yet as widespread as it was years later, when the Biluim came up, still Itzhak Iizik longed all his life to immigrate to the Land of Israel. As someone who didn’t wave his heritage, being the great-grandson of Rabbi Yehuda Hassid, Itzhak Izik tried to establish a committee that’ll strive to purchase the Ruin of Rabbi Yehuda the Pious in Jerusalem and all the surrounding neighborhood, which were in the hands of Arabs. Itzhak Iizik was in a relationship with rabbis and important figures to collect funds for this purpose. But all his efforts were unsuccessful and there was little response.

However, the idea did not give him rest and Itzhak Iizik turned to Moshe Montifiori in London. Knowing Hebrew fluently, he described in his letter to the minister the whole sequence of events. The letter made a great impression on Rabbi Moshe Montifiori, who sent his representative to Jerusalem, and purchased the whole area around the ruins for a large sum of money. The ruined synagogue was rebuilt and a Jewish neighborhood was established, now called “Ohel Moshe and Yehudit”, in memory of Sir Moshe Montifiori and his wife.

Rabbi Itzhak Iizik also faithfully dealt with public needs. He strengthened “Mishnayot” society and devoted much of his time to Talmud Torah. There still wasn’t a special home for the Talmud Torah, and the teachers taught in the beit midrash or other public places – in the women’s Beit Midrash, in Ezrat-Nashim of the synagogue and so on. Itzhak Iizik used to pass every Friday in the houses of the residents and collect money for the teachers’ weekly salary. He also brought home the children of the Talmud Torah, washed their hair and fed those who had nothing to eat.

Apart from these, he also served as a gabbai in the synagogue and in the burial society, and also dealt with sending money to Eretz-Israel, to Jews who lived off the “haluka” funds.

Rabbi Itzhak Izik was loved by all the Jews of Siedlce. He had two sons – Paltiel and David, and four daughters. In the year of his passing away, many children were named after him.

Written by Yitzhak Nahum Weintraub in the book: “Ancestors Tell Siedlce”.
Translated from Hebrew by Mr. Yuval Romano