Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Bio
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal (or Israel Abraham Portugal) (June 2, 1923 – April 1, 2019) son of Rabbi Eliezer Zusia Portugal and his first wife, Sheina Rachel, was the Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) of Skulen in Brooklyn, New York.
In his youth, he studied in Vizhnitz under the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Eliezer Hager.
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Biography
Rabbi Portugal lived primarily in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn but spent some time including about half of the Jewish holidays in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where his father lived. He was widely sought after for his blessings and advice. He deprived himself of bodily pleasures such as sleeping very little, not sleeping in a bed and eating no more than one meal a day and for his humble nature. He was also known for his battles against modernities such as watching television and use of internet.
He encouraged shaving the scalp except for boys under three and unmarried girls.
He passed away April 1, 2019 in Johns Hopkins Hospital surrounded by his family.
Following his father, he was a composer of Hasidic songs. He always (except on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays) carried with him a small tape recorder to record any new tune that would come to his mind. He composed thousands of songs. Most are forgotten after they are recorded, but many of them were sung at his tishen, and a handful of them have become classics in the Hasidic community.
Rabbi Portugal had close ties with many Hasidic rebbes. He headed the Chesed L’Avraham charity organization in Israel founded by his father, and was actively involved – traveling worldwide – in fundraising for it.
Since the death of his wife, Reizel (daughter of Rabbi Menachem Ze’ev Stern of Oberwischau), in 2005, he changed some of his practices, including traveling less and wearing his peyoshanging down rather than tied around his ears.
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Children
Portugal had five sons and three daughters.
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Sons
- Rabbi Yeshaya Yaakov Portugal of Montreal, Canada – oldest son of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal. Has many followers of his own.
- Rabbi Meir Portugal – second son of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal.
- Rabbi Ephraim Chayyim Yehuda Portugal, Skulener Rav of Spring Valley, New York – third son of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal.
- Rabbi Zvi Noach Portugal, Rav of Skulener shtiebel of Lakewood, New Jersey – fourth son of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal.
- Rabbi Shmuel Mordechai Portugal – youngest child of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal. Rabbi Shmuel Mordechai married his niece Sheina Rachel Stern (daughter of Rebbetzin Leah Libba, and oldest grandchild of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal) in 1990 (an acceptable type of marriage according to Judaism).
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Daughters
- Rebbetzin Leah Libba – oldest child of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal. Wife of Rabbi Chayyim Dov Stern of Bnei Brak, son of Rabbi Yitzhak Yehuda Stern of Bielitz .
- Rebbetzin Chaya Sarah – second daughter of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal. Wife of Rabbi Shimon Yoel Weinberger, Skulener Dayan of Williamsburg, son of Rabbi Moshe Dov Weinberger.
- Rebbetzin Nechamah – youngest daughter of Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal. Wife of Rabbi David Leib Klughaupt, head of Skulener Kollel of Boro Park, son of Rabbi Ya’akov Shlomo Klughaupt, son of Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Klughaupt.
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal Death and Cause
Yisroel Avrohom Portugal died surrounded by his family and loved ones, on the 1st April 2019, at approximately 5:45pm.
Jese Bal born Nov 9, 1982, is a novelist and poet. He has published novels, volumes of poetry, short stories, and drawings. His works are distinguished by the use of a spare style and have been compared to those of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino.