Hacham Ben Zion Meir Chai Uziel

< Tammuz 5784 July 2024 >

A Short Tribute

Hacham Ben Zion Meir Chai Uziel was born in Jerusalem to a distinguished rabbinic family in 1880. His father hired private tutors to complement his son's yeshiva studies with language, grammar and literature.

Hacham Meir Ben Zion Chai Uziel lost his father during his youth, but had the opportunity to appreciate his father's devotion to the needs of the public.

In 1900, at the age of twenty, he began to serve as rabbi in the Jerusalem's Yeshiva Gedola and established the Jerusalem Orphans School for the Sephardic community. He also established a yeshiva to train young Sephardim for the rabbinate.

In 1911 he was elected Chief Rabbi of the Jaffa community.

In 1921 he was asked to serve in the Salonika community, which numbered seventy-thousand Jews. He remained there for two years' time and, upon his return to Israel, was chosen to fill the positon of Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv – Jaffa.

In 1939 he was elected Rishon LeZion and moved to Jerusalem. In addition to his rabbinic activity, Hacham Ben Zion Chai Uziel was a member of the National Committee, participated in the establishment of the Jewish Agency, and was the Yishuv's representative for the British regime as well as a delegate to the Zionist Congress. He was party to all public affairs in Israel, as a public figure as well as a statesman, and was essentially the Jewish nation's representative for spiritual matters.

Hacham Ben Zion Chai Uziel passed away on 24 Elul, 5713 (1953).

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