First Gerrer Rebbe's Tomb Vandalized Near Warsaw

The grave of the first Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter, has been vandalized near Warsaw.

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Malkah Fleisher,

R. Avraham Mordechai, Israel's Gerrer Founder
R. Avraham Mordechai, Israel's Gerrer Founder
Israel News Photo: (archive)

The grave of the first Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter, has been vandalized, with vandals painting a swastika and "Jude Raus" ("Jew, Get Out) on the wall of the Chassidic leader's tomb near Warsaw.

Thugs also blocked the entrance to the tomb with construction foam. The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland reports that the same vandals may be responsible for a stone-throwing attack on a bus transporting pilgrims who had just visited the tomb.

In connection with the attacks, the Foundation sent a letter of protest to the Warsaw Police Commander for the Protection of Human Rights.

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter, known fondly as Reb Itche Meir and as the Chidushei HaRim, and his grandson, Rabbi Yehudah Arieh Leib, are buried together in the Jewish cemetery in Gora Kalwaria (known in Yiddish as "Ger").

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir is a descendant of the great Torah commentator Rashi and the Tosafist scholar, Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg.

Almost all Gerrer Chassidim living in pre-war Europe were murdered by the Nazis. Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, who managed to escape, set about the task of rebuilding the movement in the British Mandate of Palestine, which then became the State of Israel.  Gerrer Chassidic communities exist throughout Israel, as well as in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium.

The sect is also active in politics, with a majority representation in the powerful Agudat Israel party.