Rabbi Amram Aburbeh (or Abourabia 1894-1966) was the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic congregation in Petah-Tikva, Israel.
Rabbi Amram Aburbeh [Abourabia] was born on 17 of Adar 5654 [Jewish calendar year, 1894 Gregorian calendar], in Tetuan, Spanish Morocco. He was the son of Yocheved, (nee Khalfon family) and Rabbi Shlomo Aburbeh (whose family origin was from Castile, Spain). In Tetuan, his father Rabbi Shlomo had a Beit-Midrash¹ called “Midrash Shlomo”. After Rabbi Shlomo Aburabeh immigrated to Jerusalem in 1913, he held in his home a yeshiva² called “Or-Zaruah”.
Amram Aburbeh immigrated to Israel from Morocco in 1906, when he was Bar Mitzvah age, together with his grandfather Rabbi Yosef Aburbeh and his grandmother Billiada as the pioneers of the family, while the rest of the family followed them 7 years later. The family settled in the old city of Jerusalem in the Jewish Quarter. Amram Aburbeh studied in the yeshiva, “Tovey Yisba’u”, of the Ma’araviim³ congregation. He continued his studies in Yeshivat Porat Yosef in Jerusalem. His teacher was Rabbi Yosef Chaim HaCohen, (author of Minhat Cohen) who was also the president and Head Judge (RABAD 4) of the Ma’araviim congregation in Jerusalem. Rabbi Amram Aburabeh was ordained by his teacher as a Rabbi and dayan5. Moreover, Rabbi Amram was a certified Shochet6 and Bodek. Later Rabbi Amram married his teacher’s daughter, Rivka. They raised five sons and one daughter.
In addition to his teaching and continued studying, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh worked in partnership with his friend Rabbi Yosef Shlush, head of the Ma’araviim congregation in Jerusalem. They owned a store for trading religious Hebrew books and Judaica, first in the old city in Jerusalem and later in Mahne Yehudah neighborhood in western Jerusalem. Among others, they were engaged in the publication of religious books and Torahs delivery to North African Jewry and other communities in the Diaspora. Along with his occupation at the shop, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh was a teacher of Rabbinical college in Yeshivat Porat Yosef in the old city of Jerusalem. As well, he was a teacher in Yeshivat “Sharey Zion”, that was established by Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Chai Uziel (the rishon le-zion7). Rabbi Uziel appointed Rabbi Amram to be chief Rabbi of the Nachlaot neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Rabbi Amram served for thirty years as a Dayan in the Ma’araviim congregation Court in Jerusalem, headed by Rabbi Ben-Zion Avraham Cuenca. In 1934, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh was appointed as SHADAR8 , on behalf of the Ma’araviim institutions in Jerusalem. His post was in Morocco, where he spent a year, his mission was accomplished with success.
In 1920, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh was among the founders of the new neighborhood, Bait VaGan, in Jerusalem. In 1927, he also founded and built a new synagogue in the Nachlaot neighborhood for the Ma’araviim congregation called, “Or Zaruah”, which he named after the Beit Midrash headed by his late father. This new synagogue included a Beit Midrash that he headed. In 1930, Rabbi Amram was elected as an executive committee member of the Ma’araviim congregation in Jerusalem. He was an active Zionist even before the establishment of the State of Israel, and took part in the struggle to establish the state. The British Mandate authorities in Palestine arrested him, due to his connections with the “Haganah”9. During this time, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh volunteered to the 'Mishmar-Ha’Am10. His sons were among the Notrim guards, members of the undergrounds and later served in the Israel Defense Force.
In 1951, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh was elected by the Israel chief Rabbinate council as the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic congregation in Petah Tikva, together with the city’s Ashkenazi fellow Rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Katz. Rabbi Amram Aburbeh gave lectures in several of Petah Tikva’s downtown synagogues: Beit Israel, Ohel Chaim and Beit Avraham (called “The Great Sephardic Synagogue”, which he founded). On Shabbat11, he gave lectures in additional neighborhoods. He was a member of the Israel Chief Rabbinate Council and Chairman of the National Rabbinical Council of the Sephardic community. Rabbi Amram Aburabeh died on 7 of Tevet 5727 (20.12.1966) in Petah Tikva, buried in Segula cemetery next to his wife Rivka.
“Netivei-Am”, the first Volume of Rabbi Amram Aburbeh’s book was first published in 1963. This volume includes “Jerusalem customs and Beit-El customs” together with clarifying Halachot12 and responsa, organized according to the four parts of Shulachan Aruch. The second volume of the book, published in 1966, included 60 Drashot13 that Rabbi Amram Aburbeh gave on topics of Halacha, Agadah14 and moral that are dated from 1916 till his last days. Written articles and Divrei Torah15 by Rabbi Amram, were published in religious journals such as Kol- HaTorah. Rabbi Amram Aburbeh was in correspondences with Rabbis in Israel and abroad, discussing Halachic issues. His books and their editions were approved for publication by Rabbi Ovadya Hadaya, Rabbi Ezra Atiya, Rabbi Ovadya Yosef, Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, Rabbi Shear-Yashub Cohen and Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, who was one of the last students to be ordained by Rabbi Amram Aburbeh. From the introduction to his book Netivei-Am, The author biography chapter, 1st edition:
“In context with the great events that took place in our country during the past year 5727 it is appropriate to mention the sermon that Rabbi Amram Aburabeh gave in 5724, in Petah Tikva, where he cited his previous sermon from 5676. Then, Rabbi Amram calculated and proved that the Geula16 will occur one thousand nine hundred years after the destruction of the Temple, in the year 5728; in which year “we will do vengeance among the nations and expel the enemy out of the holy city Jerusalem…”
Netivei-Am, 1st edition, volume II, page 146.
During Hanukah holiday (1966), only five months before the Six Day War, and a short time before he died, Rabbi Amram Aburabeh gave a sermon, where he concluded:
“…. And Hashem17 will give us a sign for good, and we will merit to see the victory of Israeli Defense Force soldiers, and with God’s help, that He18 will make them stronger than all our enemies and, He will decorate them with victory decorations in all their actions in the sea, on land and in the air, and all our land that was promised to us in our Holy Torah, we will soon conquer all of the Holy city of Jerusalem, including the Old City and we will re-visit the Western Wall, the only remnant of our Temple, and we will merit to watch Hashem’s pleasantness and visit His halls in our Temple that will be built, and set a candle for David the son of Jesse, our messiah, soon in our days, Amen.”
Netivei-Am – Drashot 2nd edition, 2003
Rabbi Amram Aburabeh edited the prayer book, Siddur Rinat Israel Sephardic and Edot ha-Mizrach Nussach19. In addition, Rabbi Amram Aburbeh composed a special Tefilah20 for the recovery of the injured Israeli soldiers.
Rabbi Amram Aburabeh memorial was dedicated in several places and institutions in Israel:
- “Netivei-Am” AMIT schools, the Toranic and Scientific Education branches.
- Streets named in Jerusalem, Netivei-Am street in Ramot Alon neighbourhood and in Petah Tikva, Aburabeh Street in Ein Ganim neighbourhood.
- Beit Midrash “Netivei-Am” in Beer-Sheva.
- Aburabeh Scholars Fund for Student Excellency.
- “Netivei-Am” organization to acquire rescue equipment.
- Introduction to the books “Netivei-Am Drashot” and Netivei-Am” by Rabbi Amram Aburabeh, the author biography, editors: Gideon Avivi (son of Rabbi Aburabeh) and Mordechai Buzaglo, Petah Tikva, Rehovot, Meitar, (2003), (2006) editions.
- “Tetuan-Yerushalayim-Petach Tikva, Netivei-Am, Rabbi Amram Aburabeh” Tzameret-Rivka Avivi, “Brit” Moroccan Jews Journal, Ot-Brit Kodesh, Editor: Asher Knafo, volume 29, p.13-20, Ashdod, summer 2010.
- “Symbol of love, pious, and good faith” to the character of Rabbi Amram Aburabeh Z”L, by Avraham Adas, “Ba’ma’aracha” Adar I, 5727.
- “Eastern Sephardic Jews in Eretz Israel” Moshe David Gaon, Author’s publishing, Jerusalem, 5695.
- “Illuminate the face of the East, Halacha and Hagut of the Jewish sages in the Middle East”, Zvi Zohar, Tel-Aviv (2001).
“The State of Israel and Zionism by Sephardic oriental Sages” Zvi Zohar in “Two banks of the bridge: Religion and State in the early days of Israel”, Editors: Mordechai Bar-On and Zvi Tzameret, Yad Ben Zvi, Jerusalem p.335-339 (2002).
“The quest to discover the Yerushalmi-Sephardi custom: Rabbi Amram Aburabeh and his book Netivei-Am”, Zvi Zohar in “Rabbi Uziel and his peers: studies in the religious thought of oriental rabbis in 20th century Israel” / edited by: Zvi Zohar, the Committee for Publishing Rabbi Uziel z”l Writings, Jerusalem p.120-165, (2009).
“The Shas party and the Zionism: historical analysis” Dr. Neri Horovitz, New directions - Judaism and Zionism Journal, volume 2. The Jewish Agency in Israel publishing, the Zionistic Education department.
“The Ma’arav Sages in Jerusalem” Rabbi Shlomo Dayan, Jerusalem, 5752 p.390-400.
“A report to the history of the emissaries of the Jerusalem Ma’araviim Committee during the British Mandate, the purpose of sending emissary Zion Ochana to the Morocco internal west”, Moshe Ovadiya, “Brit” , Moroccan Jews Journal, Head editor: Asher Knafo volume 28, p. 72-76, Ashdod, (2009).
- Pardess family and its generations website detailing the Aburabeh family
- Petah-Tikva historic museum website – Rabbi Amaram Aburabeh
- Polling stations, Davar newspaper, January 5, 1931. (http://jpress.org.il/DefaultScripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Skin=TAUHe&BaseHref=Dav/1931/01/05&EntityId=Ar00409&ViewMode=HTML)
- Shraga Har-Gil, The struggle on Rabbinate Chair, Davar newspaper September 2,1960.
- Rabbi A. Aburabeh, Davar newspaper December 21, 1966, Obituary about Rabbi Amram Aburabeh’s death.
Amram Aburabeh, Netivei-Am Volume I, first edition, 5724 (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/20727)
Amram Aburabeh, Netivei-Am Volume II, first edition, 5726 (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/20725)
^ Regarding “On his father Rabbi Shlomo Aburabeh and his grandfather Rabbi Yosef Aburabeh” - Stories from the land of Israel – Talking Tombstones (Blog).(http://israelitombstones.blogspot.co.il/2012/18.html)
Categories: Petah Tikva: Chief Rabbis; Israel cities Rabbis; Morrocoan Rabbis; emissaries
Footnotes: 1. Jewish religious college 2. Jewish religious high school 3. Maghrebian Jews 4. Rosh Bet haDin, Head Judge 5. Judge 6. Ritual slaughter 7. Chief rabbi of Israel 8. Funds emissary 9. Jewish underground army 10. People’s Guard 11. Sabbath 12. Jewish Law 13. Sermons 14. Lore 15. Sermons 16. Redemption 17. God 18. God 19. Eastern Congregations version 20. Prayer
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