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Solomon David Kahana

KAHANA, SOLOMON DAVID (1869–1953), Polish rabbi. Born in Yanova, province of Kovno, Kahana studied at the yeshivah of Volozhin and the *kolel of Kovno. He was ordained by R. Isaac Elhanan *Spektor. He collaborated with and later succeeded his father-in-law, R. Samuel Zanvil *Klepfish, as a member of the Warsaw rabbinate, where he was much in demand as an arbiter in business disputes. In matters of ritual law he took a lenient view. After World War I he took an active part in rehabilitation and relief, and in particular established a special department in Warsaw to deal with problems of war agunot (see *agunah), forming a network of information bureaus in the larger cities of Europe for this purpose. The information gathered about missing husbands made possible the remarriage of thousands of agunot. He was among the founders and a member of the presidium of the Agudat ha-Rabbanim of Poland, created after Poland's independence was restored in 1919. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939, he managed to escape to Ereẓ Israel. He was appointed rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem and took up residence in the historic courtyard which 200 years earlier had been occupied by R. Ḥayyim b. *Attar. After the Holocaust he organized an agunot department on behalf of the Chief Rabbinate. With the outbreak of Arab disturbances in 1947 he was evacuated, with the help of the Belgian consul, to the new city of Jerusalem, where he lived until his death. With the exception of some responsa published in the compilations of other rabbis, his literary output was lost during his two forced evacuations. His son, Shmuel Zanwil Kahana (1905– ), served as director general of the Ministry of Religions in Israel.


EẓD, 3 (1965), 42–45; D. Plinker, in: Arim ve-Immahot be-Yisrael, 3 (1948), 2–3 (introd. by Kahana), 160.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.