Living Legacy: The Novominsker Rebbe, zt”l
By: Yehuda Alter
Monday, 9 Elul, marks the yohrtzeit of the Novominsker Rebbe, Rebbe Nochum Mordechai Perlow, zt”l, who was niftar in the year 1976. He was a prominent leader in American Jewry in the postwar era.
The Rebbe hailed from an incredible array of luminaries of the Chassidic world. The Novminsker dynasty traces its roots to Rebbe Shloime Chaim of Koidenov and Rebbe Mordechai of Neschiz, and they were closely related to a number of other important Chassidic dynasties. They were a prominent dynasty in Poland, and known for their emphasis on Torah learning. The Novominsker Rebbeim were known for their brilliance in Torah.
Rav Nachum Mordechai was born in the year 1896 in the Polish town of Novominsk to his father, Rebbe Alter Yisroel Shimon, known as the Tiferes Ish, who was a son of Rebbe Yaakov, the first Novominsker Rebbe. The young Nachum Mordechai was certainly impacted by his illustrious zeide, and he was 6 years old when his grandfather left this world. But the primary influence in life was his father who was known throughout Poland for his intense kedusha and Torah brilliance.
In the year 1916, he married the daughter of the Sokolover Rebbe, Rav Yitzchok Zelig Morgenstern, a scion of the Kotzker dynasty. Following his marriage, he served as the Rosh Yeshiva of the yeshiva in Sololov which was founded by his father-in-law.
In 1925, he fulfilled a long-held dream of alighting to Eretz Yisroel, setting out alone at first, to pave the way for his young family. Tragedy soon struck, when his daughter passed away, and he returned home. In 1926, he crossed the Atlantic, arriving on the Lower East Side. He was preceded here by his uncle, Rebbe Yehuda Aryeh of Novominsk, who actually started out in Boro Park but was soon pushed out by unfriendly neighbors.
During these years, the Rebbe spent his days and nights immersed in Torah learning without letup.
His family arrived in 1929, and in the year 1930, their son Yaakov—the future Novominsker Rebbe—was born on the Lower East Side. In 1934, his father passed away in Poland, and he was appointed Novominsker Rebbe in his stead. In later years, the Rebbe relocated to Crown Heights, where he had a shtiebel. He was active in Agudas Yisroel, Agudas Ha’admorim, and a number of other communal organizations to strengthen Torah and Yiddishkeit around the world.
He was known for his incredible, heartfelt davening, and his tremendous avodas Hashem.
In 1970, he relocated to Boro Park, where he was niftar in 1976