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Broda Family

Rabbinic family, originating in Bohemia, that settled in Galicia, Lithuania, and Hungary. The surname Broda (Braude, Broide, Braudo) indicates that the family’s origins were likely in the city of Brod, though the name could also be a Hebrew acronym for bene rabanim ve-dayane emet (the sons of rabbis and judges of truth).

The earliest known ancestor of the family is thought to be Sha’ul, rabbi of Bumsla (Mladá Boleslav, near Prague), who was a grandson of Yehudah Leib ben Betsal’el (Maharal). Sha’ul’s son, Avraham Broda (ca. 1650–1717), was the author of Eshel Avraham. Avraham’s son, Mosheh (1674–1741), served as rabbi in Hanau and Bamberg and wrote Ohel Mosheh, a supplement to and explanation of his father’s text. Mosheh’s son, Sha’ul, completed the task of publishing these two works together.

The further genealogy and chronology of the family is not entirely clear. Some members reached Galicia; others went to Lithuania where some served as rabbis and others were prominent in the Musar movement. Aharon (d. 1798), the son of Mosheh, moved to Lithuania and served as the head of the rabbinical court (rabbi of the community) in the city of Kalvarija. Aharon’s two sons also served as rabbis: Aryeh Leib in Kalvarija and Binyamin (d. 1818) in Grodno.

Binyamin’s son was Ḥayim (d. 1826), the author of Torat or ve-derekh Ḥayim (1823) and Zera‘ Ḥayim (1907). Ḥayim married Sarah, the daughter of his uncle, Aryeh Leib. One of their sons, Dov Ber (d. 1897), wrote Divre binah (Words of Understanding; published 1888–1890). Another son, Avraham Yosef, had four sons, great-grandsons of both Aryeh Leib and Binyamin: Ḥayim, Binyamin Heshel of Grodno, Aryeh Leib of Lwów, and Simḥah. He also had two daughters, Grina and Rayzl.

Aryeh Leib of Lwów (1840–1928) married Ḥana, the daughter of Tsevi Hirsh Orenstein, the rabbi of Brisk. After the authorities became aware of the fact that Orenstein was not a Russian citizen, the latter was expelled from Russia with his family. Aryeh Leib moved to Galicia with his father-in-law, first to Rzeszów and then to Lwów. Orenstein was then appointed rabbi of Lwów in 1875, and Aryeh Leib was a judge in the religious court of that city from 1881, later serving as head of the court. After Orenstein’s death, Aryeh Leib was a candidate to replace him, but he was not appointed to the position until 1906. He was the final rabbi of Lwów before the Holocaust depleted the community.

Aryeh Leib published a book of responsa by his father-in-law, with commentary, titled Milḥamot Aryeh. He also published a collection of his own responsa, Mitspeh Aryeh, along with Mukdam u-me’uḥar (Early and Late; 1920), about the lives of the sages of the Mishnah and the Talmud. He had two sons: Mikha’el and Mordekhai Ze’ev (Markus Braude; 1869–1950). The latter studied secular subjects as a youth and even received a matriculation certificate as an external student from a technical school; he completed secondary studies in a gymnasium. Mordekhai Ze’ev subsequently studied at the universities of Berlin and Freiburg and received a doctorate in philosophy in 1898. Between 1901 and 1906, he served as a preacher in a Reform synagogue in Stanisławów and as supervisor of Jewish studies there.

Mordekhai Ze’ev represented the Zionist movement in Galicia, serving as a delegate to the First Zionist Congress in 1897 and taking part in almost all subsequent congresses. In 1906, he initiated a meeting of the Zionist Committee in Kraków, where delegates approved a program known as Work in the Present. This followed the Helsingfors (Helsinki) Conference, where the Russian Zionists adopted the program, demanding autonomy for Jews and other Russian ethnic minorities. Broda himself was a candidate for parliament; though he was not elected, he served as secretary of the Jewish bloc of the Austrian parliament until he moved to Łódź in 1909.

Between 1922 and 1927, Mordekhai Ze’ev Broda was a delegate to the Sejm (parliament) in independent Poland. He filled a number of significant positions in the Jewish life of Łódź, serving as preacher in the Reform synagogue and establishing a Jewish secondary school with a broad program of Jewish studies. He organized the Committee of the Society for the Establishment of Hebrew High Schools throughout Poland; schools similar to the one in Łódź were founded throughout the country. He was also a founder of the Institute for Jewish Studies in Warsaw. Broda had great influence on youth, and he encouraged them to support Zionism. Married to Nelli Buber, Martin Buber’s sister, he managed to move to Palestine upon the outbreak of World War II.

Barukh Broda, a scion of the Lithuanian branch of the family, worked in Kovno as a treasurer of the kolel. In Kelmė, several members of the Broda family joined the Musar movement and were the heads of Bet ha-Talmud, a center for disseminating ideas of the movement, there. Among the Musar followers were Simḥah Zisl Ziv, known as “the grand old man of Kelmė” (1824–1898); his son Naḥum Ze’ev; Leib (Simḥah Zisl’s brother); and Tsevi, the son of Leib, who was also the son-in-law of Simḥah Zisl.

Suggested Reading

Majer Bałaban, “Le-Shalshelet ha-yiḥus shel ha-Rav D”r Mordekhai Ze’ev Broda,” in Sefer yovel le-Mordekhai Ze’ev Broda, pp. 5–46 (Warsaw, 1930), includes genealogical chart of the family; Nathan Michael Gelber, Toldot ha-tenu‘ah ha-tsiyonit be-Galitsyah, 1875–1918 (Jerusalem, [1958]); Josef Horovitz, “Broda,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 4, cols. 1388–1390 (Jerusalem, 1971); Yehoshua Horowitz, “Broda, Abraham ben Saul,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 4, col. 1390 (Jerusalem, 1971); Getzel Kressel, “Braude, Markus,” in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 4, cols. 1314–1315 (Jerusalem, 1971); Me’ir Vunder, “R. Aryeh Leb . . . Broda’,” in Me’ore Galitsyah: Entsiklopedyah le-ḥakhme Galitsyah, vol. 1, cols. 551–556 (Jerusalem, 1978).



Translated from Hebrew by Jeffrey Green