Story: In the previous generation there was a superb scholar that has been
quite unknown beyond his community and those that met him. Rabbi
Israel Isaac Kahanovitch, whose Hilula fell on 11 Tammuz (1945), was the
Chief Rabbi of all of Western Canada and the Western United States from
1905-1945.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahanovitch

Rabbi Yisroel Kahanovitch

 

Rabbi Kahanovitch attended the musar yeshivas of Slobodka
and Novardok, and was ordained as a Rav by the Aruch HaShulchan, who
was the foremost Posek in his generation in Europe. While Rav of
Winnipeg his halachic rulings reached from Toronto to Los Angeles. In
fact, both cities requested his permanent station, but he would not leave his
position of head of Winnipeg Jewry, as well as his two specific
congregations, Beth Jacob and Ashkenazi. Every Shabbos he would speak
fiery drashas about supporting the return to Eretz HaKodesh, for he had
seen the damage in war torn Europe, from which he fled. In addition, he
sent millions of dollars to Eretz Yisroel to help support the Jewish settlers.
When Rav Kook, Chief Rabbi of Eretz HaKodesh passed away, Rabbi
Kahanovitch was asked to become his successor, but again he refused
because of his dedication to his community. In addition to correspondence
with Rav Kook, the Rebbe and Previous Chabad Rebbe wrote to Rabbi
Kahanovitch for support on issues facing the Jewish People (see index to
Igros Kodesh). Until his last days he would spend his spare moments
helping orphans, widows, and refugees, and still find time to review the
Gemorah and Shulchan Aruch, of which he was completely fluent.
The author of this work hopes that this small biography can give honor to
his great-grandfather, whose inspiration drives him every day. In addition
he hopes the merit of Rabbi Israel Isaac will protect his descendants and
Klal Yisroel .

This biography was written by  Rabbi Israel’s grandson, Rabbi Yonason Kahanovitch he can be contacted at kahanovitch@yahoo.ca.