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Ephraim Oshry

OSHRY, EPHRAIM (1914–2003), rabbi and halakhic authority. Oshry was born in Kupiskis, Lithuania, and studied at the Slobodka Yeshivah. During the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, he became the rabbi of the Kaunas (Kovno) ghetto, and issued responsa to halakhic questions concerning Jewish practice under unprecedented conditions. These responsa constitute one of the most interesting religious documents to emanate from the Holocaust era. He hid the written responsa, and was able to retrieve them after the war. They were eventually published in five volumes in Hebrew as She'elot u-Teshuvot mi-Ma'amakim (1959–74), and in English summary as Responsa from the Holocaust (1983)

When the Kaunas ghetto was liberated in 1944, Oshry went to Rome, where, in 1945, he founded Yeshivat Meor ha-Golah for young Holocaust survivors. He transferred the yeshivah to Montreal, Canada, in 1950, and eventually moved it to New York, where he became rabbi of the Beit Midrash Hagodol on the Lower East Side in 1952.

Beside his volumes of responsa, which won two National Jewish Book Awards, he published a number of studies on rabbinic and halakhic literature including Divrei Efraim (1949), Oẓar ha-Pesaḥ (1965), Imrei Efraim (1968), and Hasidei Efraim (1975). He wrote an account of the destruction of Lithuanian Jewry, Khurbn Lite (Yid. 1951; Eng. tr. 1995).


New York Times (Oct. 5, 2003).

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