Yosef Eliyahu Henkin

Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (1881–1973) was a prominent Orthodox rabbi in the United States.

He was born in 1881 in Klimavichy, Belarus, then in the Russian Empire, and studied at the Slutzker Yeshiva under Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer. He received rabbinical ordination (semichah) from Rabbi Meltzer, and he was also ordained by the Rabbi Yaakov Dovid Wilovsky (the Ridvaz), Rabbi Boruch Ber Leibowitz and Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, the Aruch HaShulchan. After serving as rabbi in a number of Russian towns, he emigrated to America in 1922. In 1925 he became the director of Ezras Torah, which provided assistance to scholars. He served in that capacity until his death.

Under his guidance, and following his decisions, Ezras Torah published an annual calendar (luach) listing the synagogue and liturgical customs for each day, specifying the specific practice of that day. Most traditional non-chassidic synagogues in North America followed the decisions of Rabbi Henkin as their baseline.

He had two sons: Louis Henkin, legal academician and writer, and Rabbi Hillel Henkin, educator in Connecticut. His grandson is Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, an Orthodox rabbi in Israel. Many of Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin's opinions are only known through the responsa of his grandson.

Read more about Yosef Eliyahu Henkin:  Halachic Positions, The New York Eruv, Position On Israel, Bibliography