Menachem Mendel

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Ruth Ben David and R. Amram Blau

A few years go while looking for something in the stacks of the JTS Library z”l, I came across a fascinating book. I don’t remember why I took this book off the shelf, but it was a gem. The book the I had found was the transcribed autobiography of Ruth Ben-David, a convert to Judaism who is best known as one of the people who helped hide Yossele Schumacher after he was kidnapped from his parents and smuggled to Europe, and as the woman who later married Rabbi Amram Blau, the leader of Neturei Karta. As an aside, if you are interested in Neturei Karta and the whole Ben David-Blau episode, I highly recommend Motti Inbari’s Jewish Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy Confronts Modernity, Zionism and Women’s Equality.

Inbari’s research into Neturei Karta was fascilated by the depositing of Amram Blau’s archive at Boston University. See this article by Yair Ettinger for a description of the archive and the relationship between Ben David and Blau. This Thursday Kestenbaum Auction House is conducting an auction with some great material and among the items being auctioned are a number of letters from Ben David and Blau, along with some correspondance with other rabbinic figures.

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I guess that these are letters that weren’t included in Amram Blau’s archive and are now up for sale. Hopefully they’ll be made available to scholars for use in their research because this is a fascinating episode in the lives of two fascinating people.

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