He Never Lifted His Eyes To See New York’s Skyscrapers

An early tomim, R’ Avrohom Elyeh Akslerod came to the US in 1924 where he served a rov in Baltimore. He continued to act just as in Lubavitch and the Frierdiker Rebbe had a unique compliment for him.

Reb Avrohom Eliyohu Akslerod (“Kabilniker”) learned in Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch and was an outstanding yerei shomayim.

In the winter of 5684 (1924), he moved to America, and he took on the position of rov in the Tzemach Tzedek shul in Baltimore. He conducted himself in America as a tomim would in Lubavitch. He walked the streets with his talis koton visible, a rare scene in those years.

When the Frierdiker Rebbe arrived in America he would often visit 770. When the bochurim requested him to farbreng, he would generally refuse, saying he came to the Rebbe to receive. He passed away on 4 Adar 5714 (1954).


His work in America was no easy task; one needed great mesiras nefesh to stand strong in matters of Yiddishkeit.

Reb Zev Kazinitz was a tomim learning in Lubavitch, and when the time came for him to join his parents who lived in America, he wrote a letter to Reb Avrohom Elye asking, “What is important for me to bring along to America?”

Reb Avrohom Elye replied, “Sacks of mesiras nefesh.


Reb Avrohom Elye’s davening in Baltimore was just like he was accustomed to in Lubavitch. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah after becoming rov, he davened at great length, well after the minyan was finished.

The congregants who were not accustomed to such conduct figured he must be requesting from Hashem to receive a higher paycheck to be able to afford a more comfortable lifestyle. They got together and decided to raise his salary. However, when they approached him and offered the raise, Reb Avrohom Elye declined, explaining that he was content with what he had and didn’t need the extra American luxury.


It is said that the Frierdiker Rebbe remarked, “I can testify that Avrohom Elye has never lifted his eyes to see the skyscrapers of New York.”

For sources, visit TheWeeklyFarbrengen.com

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  1. Did he have children? If yes, what happened to them? Were they observant? What about grandchildren, great grandchildren?

    1. He had one daughter, who married R. Chaim, the son of R. Reuven Grozovsky, and from them have come a chain of talmidei chachamim.

      Also, not-so-by-the-way, an early talmid and mushpa of R. Akselrod’s was R. Avigdor Miller.

      1. No, his daughter married Shamshon Grozovsky, the other son of Reb Reuven. He had two sons who became Chassidim – Avremal a”h and yibodel lechaim Boruch Ber.

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