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At the behest of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, Klausenburger Rebbe from 1927–1994, the movement was split into two separate movements after his death, headed by his two sons. The Sanz-Klausenburger Hasidim are located in Borough Park, New York, while the Sanzer Hasidim are based in Kiryat Sanz, Netanya, Israel. There are also modest followings in Jerusalem, Stamford Hill, Antwerp and Union City, New Jersey.
The Klausenburger Rebbes are descended from Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, who was a disciple of Rabbi Naftoli Tzvi of Ropshitz. Rabbi Naftoli was a disciple of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk author of Noam Elimelech. Rebbe Elimelech was a disciple of Rebbe Dovber, the Maggid (Preacher) of Mezritch, the primary disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
The Klausenburger dynasty was founded by Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam in 1927 when he assumed the position of Rav of Klausenburg, the capital city of Transylvania in western Romania. Halberstam was the great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim of Sanz, founder of the Sanz Hasidic dynasty.
Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam grew up in Rudnik, Poland, a small town close to Sanz, and was known as a child prodigy and an excellent scholar. In the town of Klausenburg, which he led until the outbreak of World War II, he attracted many followers and a great number of Sanz Hasidim began to follow the young Rebbe.
As a result of the Holocaust, almost the entire community was destroyed. Approximately 15% survived the Holocaust, including the Rebbe, who lost his wife and eleven children. He emerged as a leader in the displaced persons camps in Europe as he created a communal survivors organization called She'aris Hapleitah ("the surviving remnant"), which operated religious schools for boys and girls and yeshivas for young men in 19 different DP camps, as well as a host of religious services.
In 1947, he emigrated to America and established his court in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where he began a widescale movement to increase Jewish observance. He founded many Jewish day schools and institutions of higher learning. He launched revolutionary programs for comprehensive study of the Talmud. He created a program called Mifal HaShas, in which students would master thirty folios of the Talmud in one month. His influence permeated areas as far as Canada, Mexico, and Israel.
In 1957 he established the Kiryat Sanz neighborhood in the beachside city of Netanya, Israel. Over the next few years, he raised money for the establishment of girls' and boys' schools and yeshivas, an orphanage, an old-age home and a hospital to serve this community. He moved to Kiryat Sanz in 1960. In 1968 he founded yet another Sanz community in Union City, New Jersey, and afterwards divided his time between that community and his residence in Netanya.
Halberstam died on June 18, 1994, and was buried in Netanya. In his will, he divided leadership of the Klausenburger Hasidim between his two sons (both born in his second marriage after World War II). His elder son, Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, became the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe (also called Sanzer Rebbe) of Netanya, and Shmuel Dovid Halberstam became the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe of Brooklyn.
The late Rebbe's sons-in-law are:
In contrast to the custom among many Rebbes, the Klausenburger Rebbe did not take sons-in-law exclusively from rabbinic families; rather, he chose the best students of his yeshiva to marry his daughters. The only exception was Rabbi Shlomo Goldman, an accomplished Torah scholar even in his youth, who is the son of the previous Zhviller Rebbe in Israel.
Other figures in Sanz-Klausenburg are: