Gedalia Dov Schwartz
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Gedalia Dov Schwartz


Gedalia Dov Schwartz
TitleRosh Beth Din
Gedalia Dov Schwartz

(1925-01-24)January 24, 1925
DiedDecember 9, 2020(2020-12-09) (aged 95)
NationalityUnited States
ChildrenAvraham Yishaya
Rivka Leah
Chaim Heschel[1]
OccupationRabbi, posek, scholar
OrganisationBeth Din of America
Chicago Rabbinical Council
ResidenceChicago, Illinois
SemichaRabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary

Gedalia Dov Schwartz (January 24, 1925[2] -- December 9, 2020[3]) was an eminent Orthodox rabbi, scholar, and posek (halakhic authority) who lived in Chicago, Illinois. From 1991 to 2013, when he gave his position as Av Beth Din to Rabbi Yona Reiss, he was the av beis din (head of the rabbinical court) of both the Beth Din of America and the Chicago Rabbinical Council[4] (cRc)[5] as well as the rosh beth din (chief presiding judge) of the National Beth Din of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA).[6] He was also editor of HaDarom, the RCA Torah journal.[6]


Schwartz was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, where he first studied Torah in his teenage years with Rabbi Yaakov Benzion Mendelson.[7] He was a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University, where he received his rabbinic ordination.[2] Following this ordination, he received a fellowship in the Institute of Advanced Rabbinic Research of Yeshiva University. Later he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.[6] Rabbi Schwartz was honored with the Harav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, Joseph B. Soloveitchik Aluf Torah Award, RIETS highest honor, at Yeshiva University's Chag Haseemicha convocation on March 23, 2014.[8]

Before coming to Chicago in 1987,[9] Schwartz was the rabbi of the Young Israel of Boro Park for 18 years, having earlier held pulpits in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.[2][10] He was a past president of the Mizrachi of Rhode Island and the RCA Philadelphia Region.[9]


His father's name was Avraham. He married Shoshana Poupko[11] (d. 2009), with whom he had two sons and a daughter.[1] Their daughter, Rivka Leah, was married to the late Rabbi Yehoshua Goldman, who directed the Vaad HoIr of Cincinnati. In 2010, Schwartz married his surviving wife, Chana Sarah.


Rabbi Schwartz's opinion was frequently sought by both Jewish and secular sources on issues such as conversion to Judaism,[12] halakhic prenuptial agreements,[13] kashering items for Passover,[14] child abuse,[15] and tattoos.[16] In 2002 he was appointed as the head of a three-judge panel which examined cases of agunahs from the September 11 attacks,[17] using DNA testing of post-mortem remains to verify the death of their husbands and allow them to remarry.[18]

Halakhic works

"Rabbi Schwartz was the first second-generation American rabbi to publish an original halachic [Jewish legal] work":[19]


  • Comments on the New York State "Get Law"[20]
  • Halakhah and Minhag in Nusach Hatefillah (1990). Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy 13, 7-10.[21]


  1. ^ a b Bernstein, Dovid (May 6, 2009). "Rebbetzin Shoshana Schwartz a"h". Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ a b c "Multi-Honors for Rabbi Schwartz". Chicago Jewish News. October 12, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ "Chicago: Levaya of Hagaon HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz ZATZAL, Rosh Av Bais Din cRc". Yeshiva World. December 9, 2020.
  4. ^ "Staff Biographies". Beth Din of America. 2010. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "cRc Beth Din". .. led by Rabbi .. Schwartz
  6. ^ a b c "Chancellor Norman Lamm Pays Tribute to Av Beth Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council". Yeshiva University News. November 9, 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Yeshiva University -- RIETS Chag HaSemikhah 2014. March 25, 2014. Event occurs at 1:44:30. Retrieved 2016. (Remarks by Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz. describing childhood preparation for RIETS:) I never went to Yeshiva before... in Newark, NJ, there was no such thing as a day school, or a post-high school, or anything of that sort. But I was fortunate to have a great Rav, a mechaber of seforim (Rabbi and author), Rav Mendelson, ZL, who was my personal teacher for years. So I was a bit prepared to enter the Yeshiva.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b "Chicago Rabbinical Council to honor Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz". Jewish United Fund. September 18, 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ CORRECTION: he was in Chicago 1987 onwards. "Previously" is a mistake in the cited article. See: "Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beth Din".
  11. ^ "The Year in Review" (PDF). Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc). in memory of Rebbetzin. Shoshana Schwartz a"h, the first wife of our Rosh Beth Din, Rabbi. Gedaliah Dov Schwartz.
  12. ^ "RCA Conversions to be Recognized by Israeli Chief Rabbinate". The Jerusalem Post. February 20, 2008. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ "Rabbinic Endorsements". Beth Din of America. 2010. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ "Chicago Rabbinical Council's Guidelines to Kashering Counter tops and Stovetops for Pesach". Chicago Rabbinical Council. 2005. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ Busch, Alan (October 20, 2010). "Participate in National Jewish Child Abuse Prevention Week, October 17th -24th". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ Shellenbarger, Sue (October 13, 2010). "Tattoo Myths and Misconceptions". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011.
  17. ^ Pfeffer, Anshel (September 13, 2002). "At Ground Zero, rabbis are trying to free the widows". Haaretz. Retrieved 2011.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Nussbaum Cohen, Debra (August 11, 2010). "Rabbis and Halacha Grapple With Advances in DNA Technology". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ Laura Berlinger (December 14, 2020). "HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz zt"l".
  20. ^ "Comments on the New York State 'Get Law'". Jewish Law. Retrieved 2011.
  21. ^ "Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy" (PDF). 1990. Retrieved 2011.[permanent dead link]

External links

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