Guide to the Sagalovitch-Sagall Family Papers

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Collection Overview

Creator: Sagalovitch family
Title: Sagalovitch-Sagall family papers
Dates: 1923-1988
Size: 2.5 Linear feet
Number of Boxes:5 manuscript boxes
Abstract:The Sagalovitch (later Sagall) family was a prominent Zionist rabbinic family in Russia and Poland, tracing its roots back to the medieval French commentator, Rashi. The collection contains correspondence, speeches, notes, personal documents, newspaper clippings, and programs belonging to the Sagalovitch-Sagall family. The majority of the items relate to either Jacob Meir Sagalovitch or his son Solomon Sagall.
Languages:Materials are in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, French, and German.
Call No: 2003.097

About This Guide

Finding aid encoded August, 2009

Finding aid encoded in English.

Biographical Note

The Sagalovitch family was a prominent rabbinic family in Russia and Poland, tracing its roots back to the medieval French commentator, Rashi. The family members were Zionists, and they spoke out in many different venues to help further the Zionist cause.

Rabbi Jacob Meir Sagalovitch, the descendant of 37 generations of rabbis, was born in 1881 in Vilna, at that time part of the Russian Empire, and studied in the Yeshiva at Telsz. He became an ordained rabbi at the age of 17, and was Chief Rabbi of Danzig for 10 years following the Russian Revolution, at which time he left Russia. He married his wife Bluma in 1900 in Poland. Sagalovitch was then invited to be the Chief Rabbi of Brussels, where he stayed until the fall of Belgium in World War II, at which point he escaped first to France and then to America in 1941. He joined the Zionist Movement during Theodore Herzl's lifetime, and continued to be an ardent Zionist his whole life. He died in 1944 at the age of 63 after a long illness.

Sagalovitch's son, Solomon, was born in 1900 in Podberzye, Russia, and changed his family name to Sagall. He attended the University of Moscow and then immigrated to Berlin after the Russian Revolution, where he studied economics and political science, and then went on to the London School of Economics as well. He wrote for a Zionist newspaper while he lived in Berlin, and was elected Honorary Secretary of the Anglo-Palestinian Club. In 1926, he married his wife Yocheved. In 1929, he read about the invention of television and he borrowed money to acquire the rights to the technology. In 1957, he founded Teleglobe-Pay Systems, using the technology to transmit coded programming for which people had to pay. The idea was opposed at first and even made illegal, but in the 1970s, lawmakers dropped the bans. Sagall's company was taken over by cable companies, to which he eventually licensed his pay-per-view technology. In 1984, he was elected a fellow to the Royal Television Society in London. He died in 2001, at the age of 101, in New York.

Other members of the family include Jacob Meir Sagalovitch's father, Chaim; Jacob Meir Sagalovitch's daughter, Lea, and her husband Zvi Gottesman; Jacob Meir Sagalovitch's second son, Emmanuel; and Solomon Sagall's son, Joel.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, speeches, notes, personal materials, newspaper clippings, Jewish legal documents, and programs belonging to the Sagalovitch-Sagall family. The collection is arranged in 5 boxes, with the first 3 pertaining to Jacob Meir Sagalovitch and the latter 2 pertaining mainly to Solomon Sagall, with a few items pertaining to other family members.

Box 1 contains a scrapbook of articles and some clippings pertaining to Jacob Meir Sagalovitch's life, including an interview he did for the Jewish Weekly in London, articles from various countries about visits he made to those countries, and his obituary from many different papers. The articles are in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, German and French. There is also some correspondence with congregants and program announcements from Sagalovitch's time as congregational rabbi of Congregation Kehillath Jacob in New York City, from 1942-1944, as well as some Jewish legal documents, such as some certificates of divorce and marriage.

Box 2 contains some more newspaper clippings in various languages, as well as a copy of Predigten, a book of sermons in German by Jacob Meir Sagalovitch gave, published in Danzig in 1931. There is also a rubbing of Sagalovitch's tombstone.

Box 3 contains Jacob Meir Sagalovitch and his wife Bluma's personal documents, including naturalization papers and Sagalovitch's letter of hire from Congregation Kehillath Jacob. There are also Sagalovitch's notes for sermons he gave on the weekly Torah portion, as well as on other topics in the Bible and Rabbinic literature. Also included in this box is correspondence of a personal nature with family members in various cities, including Danzig and Brussels.

Box 4 contains personal documents of Solomon Sagall, including his registration at the University of London and his marriage certificate to his wife, Yocheved. There are also documents and newspaper clippings from his time as secretary of the Anglo-Palestinian Club, a group in London whose goal was to discuss building a Jewish state and to bring Hebrew culture to England. Also included in this box is correspondence between Sagall and his wife and son and various friends.

Box 5 contains more of Solomon Sagall's writings for the Anglo-Palestinian club, as well as some articles and works of fiction that he wrote. This box also contains Sagall's son Joel's Bar Mitzvah speech, some correspondence belonging to Sagall's brother Emmanuel, some correspondence in Hebrew belonging to Sagall's grandfather Chaim Sagalovitch, and some correspondence belonging to Sagall's sister Lea Gottesman and her husband Zvi.

Index Terms

This collection has been indexed under the following terms:

Gottesman, Lea
Gottesman, Zvi
Sagall, Joel
Sagall, Solomon
Sagalovits, Yaʻaḳov Meʼir
Sagalowitsch, Bluma
Sagalowitsch, Emmanuel
Sagaloṿits, Ḥayim
Anglo-Palestinian Club
Congregation Kehillath Jacob (New York, N.Y.)
Jewish law
Jewish sermons
Jews -- Belgium -- Brussels
Jews -- Poland -- Gdańsk
Rabbis -- Belgium -- Brussels
Rabbis -- New York (State) -- New York
Rabbis -- Poland -- Gdańsk
Synagogues -- New York (State) -- New York
Zionism -- Great Britain
Document Types:
Legal documents
Notes (manuscript)
Predigten / von Jakob Meïr Sagalowitsch

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is available to researchers deemed to be qualified by the Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of materials in this collection. Please contact the Curator of Special Collections for information regarding Yeshiva University's reproduction policies and fees.