Illuminated Sin Bookmark by Jean-Jacques LEVI Zelig STAROBINSKY, passport photo Benjamin STAROBINSKY with his grandson Selig STARR (age 8), Selig's sister Rifka, and Aunt Sarah

Rabbi Selig STARR Family Tree

Rabbi Selig STARR born Zelig STAROBINSKI (b. 15 June 1893 Yanow or Yanaveh, Poland, d. 2 Nov 1989 = 4 cheshvan 5750 Chicago pneumonia, buried Yanover Cemetery, Waldheim, Illinois, Gate 125, Lot 317, Row 3, Grave 4, Id no. 29243) son of David STAROBINSKY. (In the photo on the right taken around 1901, Selig is eight years old and is standing on the right next to his sister Rifka, grandfather Benjamin, and aunt Sarah.)

In his early years, Selig studied at Navaradak, Telz, and Slabodka at Kovno, Lithuania. At 17, he came of Slobodka Yeshiva "Knesses Israel". His Talmudic training there was so thoroughly and rapidly absorbed that through scarcely no more than a boy he was ordained as Rabbi, in 1921, by the world famous Rabbi Moses Mordecai EPSTEIN and Rabbi Solomon David CAHANA (Warsaw).

He immigrated to the United States on the S. S. Latvia sailing from Danzig (14 July 1921) along with his widowed mother Guta Tova.

He came to Chicago in 1921, and immediately became member of the faculty of Beth Medresh Latorah (Hebrew Theological College). At his Yeshivot in Europe there were very heated arguments for and against Hascalla. Rabbi Starr was very much in favor of the Hascalla, but still staunchly aligned with extreme traditional orthodoxy.

At the same time he pursued his Rabbi Selig Starr secular studies at the University of Chicago and received degrees of Ph. B (1928) from University of Chicago's College. and Master of Arts (1930) for the Social Sciences Division. His dissertation in English history was entitled "Exclusion Bills of the 1679-1681". Rabbi Starr met up with his English teacher—with whom he had started studying upon arrival in Chicago, presumably as part of immigrant group study—at UC, the teacher of course having expressed amazement at his progress.

He obtained U.S. citizenship, on 16 May 1929. The 1930 census shows he lived on 3619 Douglas Boulevard in Chicago's 24th ward along with his daughters Muriel and Jean, his wife Pearl and her step-mother Nettie COHEN.

In 1931, elected Rabbi of Am Olam (8006 Cottage Grove Avenue, Chiccago). His scholarly article "Historical and Present Day Judaism" was published in Ohel Moed.

Rabbis STARR and REGANZON of the Hebrew Theological College Senior Rabbi at Hebrew Theological College (Skokie, Illinois). Tremendous Lamden, who knew all the Masechtot that are regularly studied in yeshivot, as well or better than any Rosh Hayeshiva anywhere in the world. Even more than diligent Torah study, Middos Tovos or Tefilla Betzibbbur, he emphasized Ahavas Yisroel. He has taught thousands of young Jewish men Torah, Jewish ethics and culture. Due to his influence and inspiration many of these students later became leaders and teachers in Israel. There are at least 25 rabbis in Chicago alone (as of 1956) who were his students.

Rabbi STARR was also the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Joseph South Shore (5433 W. Jackson Boulevard).

In 1984, Rabbi Selig STARR became Rosh Yeshiva at Darchai Noam (Jerusalem). Selig Starr

Rabbi Selig STARR enumerated "Ten Modern Important Commandments" for his students and family. They were as follows:

  1. Remember to embrace equally all the three fundamentally Jewish loves: Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas Torah and Avahas Yisroel.
  2. Remember not to minimize any one of them in anyway whatsoever.
  3. Remember that time is the most precious element in your mental treasury therefore spend it very carefully.
  4. Remember not to spend your spiritual harvest time more on one crop than on the others.
  5. Remember that personal flattery (chenipah) is your worst enemy, while expert criticism is your best friend.
  6. Remember that human behavior must be analyzed and comprehended; some people are acting as spiders, while others, like flies enwrapped in the deadly silken threads of the spiders. Avoid the company of either one of them.
  7. Remember that six million of American Jews are waiting for your spiritual orthodox guidance. Do not disappoint them.
  8. Remember that you have been trained to fight two internal enemies, ignorance and confusion, the latter is the greater.
  9. Remember that our spiritual orthodox survival depends solely on the ability of our leaders to rescue the wine while the barrel is broken, to watch over the Torah inheritance while the ghetto walls have been eliminated.
  10. Remember that destiny (hashgachat haborei) has bestowed upon the incoming Jewish generation the greatest amount of the most precious blessings, and, at the same time imposed upon our selected Talmudic Scholars the greatest responsibilities to be sincere Servants of G-d, Torah, and Israel (as an independent State and everlasting people).

He was a great tsadik but disdained displays for appearances only. Once he criticized a student for wearing his tsitsis hanging out. His student replied that wearing tsitsis is one of the greatest mitzvot and he wanted to show how proud he was. Rabbi STARR replied that the brit milah is an even greater mitzvot but it is not displayed. Pearl COHEN Pearl STARR

Rabbi Selig STARR married (1924 Chicago) Pearl (Penina) COHEN (b. 15 Dec. 1904, d. 12 Tamuz, 15 or 16 July 1970 Chicago, diabetes, Buried Yanover Cemetery, Waldheim, Illinois, Gate 125, Lot 317, Row 3, Grave 3, Id no. 42520), an active social worker.

To be placed: Gertrude STARR probably pictured with Jean and Guta Tova above. Yanover Cemetery, Waldheim, Illinois, Gate 125, Lot 317, Row 3, Grave 5, Id no. 42521


Daniel E. LOEB, eMail: publisher@pjvoice.com
I read the Philadelphia Jewish Voice