Yisrael Alter, (Polish: Izrael Alter, Hebrew: ישראל אלתר; October 1895 – 20 February 1977), also known as the Beis Yisroel after the works he authored, was the fifth Rebbe of the Hasidic dynasty of Ger, a position he held from 1948 until 1977.
The Beis Yisrael of Ger , The third son of the Imrei Emes, he celebrated a double simcha on his Bar Mitzvah, as he became engaged to his cousin, Chaya Sara. They married two years later. In 1940, the Imrei Emes escaped the Nazis and reached Eretz Yisrael, along with his sons, Rav Yisrael, Rav Simcha Bunim, and Rav Pinchas Menachem. Tragically, Rav Yisrael’s wife, daughter, and son perished, a fact he didn’t learn until 1945. He remarried in 1948, but had no children from his second wife. After his father’s petira, Rav Yisrael assumed the mantle of leadership as the 4th Rebbe of Ger. For the next 29 years, he rebuilt Ger and was a major force in the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisrael. After his passing, Ger was led by his brother, Rav Simcha Bunim, until his petira in 1992. After that, his other brother, Rav Pinchas Menachem led Ger for four years. Since then, Ger has been led by Rav
Yaakov Aryeh, the son of Rav Simcha Bunim.
Rabbi Yisrael also known as the "Sharfer (sharp) Rebbe", left a great impression on people from all walks of life who came in contact with him, and was highly respected by all Hasidic circles. His idea was to elevate every person to somehow become one level higher than his present state. There are countless stories from individuals (Hasidim and non-Hasidim) who met the Rebbe, relating how he had a tremendous spiritual impact on them and how this strong impression will never leave them. What makes this even more impressive is that many of these encounters with the Rebbe were for a very short period of time.
Rabbi Yisrael actively encouraged a strong competitive rivalry between the young man in his Yeshivos. In particular, early morning learning, prayers and Tischen (meals led by the Rebbe on Sabbath and Holidays).
He was a charismatic leader with a dynamic personality, quick wit and an unpredictable nature.
Rabbi Yisrael became a powerful force within the Agudat Israel of Israel party and guided its work in the Israeli Knesset, concluding alliances with various other political parties to further the causes of Haredi Judaism in the Jewish state.
He died of bowel obstruction in 1977, leaving no heir. He was succeeded by his brother, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter. After his death, his widow performed chalitza on Rabbi Simcha Bunim, in accordance with halakah.
May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Yisrael (ben Avraham Mordechai) Alter protect us all, Amen.