The Vurke chassidic dynasty took a leading role in Polish Jewish life of the 19th century, and spawned several prominent offshoots such as Amshinov, Aleksander and Strikov among others. Established by Rav Yitzchak Kalish as a faction of Pshischa, it flourished among his descendants and students in central Poland. Rav Yitzchak of Vurke (1779-1848) was a great chassidic leader, and earned renown as a pioneering ‘shtadlan’ or lobbyist, effectively ushering in a new era of Orthodox Jewish politics. In this capacity he represented the entire Jewish community of Poland, as his activities weren’t limited to Vurke or chassidim in general.
Rav Yitzchak was succeeded by both students and sons, with his younger son Rav Menachem Mendel remaining in Vurke, and known as the ‘Silent Tzadik’. He in turn was succeeded by his son Rav Simcha Bunim who eventually moved to the Land of Israel. Most of the Vurke community and leadership was decimated in the Holocaust.
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