Rabbi Nahum Eliezer Rabinovitch, a native of Montreal, an Israeli posek and among the leader of National Religious Jews in Israel, head of Yeshivat Birkat Moshe in Ma’ale Adumim, passed away Tuesday night at 92.
In 2015 Rabbi Rabinovitch helped found and led Giyur K’halacha, Israel’s leading, non-governmental conversion court network, which provides a meaningful, supportive, Orthodox conversion process for Israeli citizens, particularly immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and children under the age of bar- and bat-mitzvah. The organization maintains that “by embracing all those who wish to join the Jewish people, Giyur K’Halacha is changing the nature of conversion in Israel.”
Rabbi Rabinovitch was a staunch supporter of Nishmat, the only institution in Israel that certifies women as yoatzot halacha – halachic advisor.
Rabbi Rabinovitch began studying when he was 14 with Lubavitch Rabbi Pinchas Hirschsprung, who later became Chief Rabbi of Montreal. At age 20, he studied in Yeshivas Ner Israel, Baltimore, where he received Semicha from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman. He also received a master’s degree in mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science from the University of Toronto, about statistics and probability in the Talmud at the University of Toronto, which was published in 1973 under the title: “Probability and Statistical Inference in ancient and medieval Jewish Literature.”
Rabbi Rabinovitch served from 1952 to 1963 as the rabbi of the Jewish community of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1963 he became a community rabbi in Toronto. He also lectured at Toronto University and was an editor of the Rabbinical Council of America’s journal Hadarom. He lived in London from 1971 to 1982, where he served as dean of Jews’ College. He was later appointed Rosh Yeshiva of hesder yeshiva Birkat Moshe in Ma’ale Adumim.