Rabbi Dr. Israel Meir Levinger (born December 20, 1933) is a rabbi, veterinarian and zoologist, expert on kashrut and slaughter, former rabbi of the Orthodox community in Basel, Switzerland.
Born in Jerusalem in 1933 to Dr. Eliezer and Tirza Levinger, who immigrated to Israel from Munich, Germany shortly before his birth, the family settled in Jerusalem and lived on the border of Rehavia and Shaarei Hesed neighborhoods.
In his youth, Rabbi Levinger studied at the Horev School in Jerusalem, and later in the village of Kfar Haroeh and at the Beer Yaakov Yeshiva. In 1950 he joined the first Nahal religious group, Shalhevet, which founded Kibbutz Sha'alvim.
In the mid-1950s Rabbi Levinger traveled to study veterinary medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. At the same time he engaged in educational activities with local Jewish youth.
In 1960 he published his first book "Guide to the Laws of Foreclosure." The book included pictures for visual illustration of the halachic matters in question. This was a new and unprecedented phenomenon in Torah literature. Since then, the use of images has been used as a means of illustration in many Torah books, and today they are a popular means of teaching and studying various topics, including matters of ritual slaughter and the laws of Kiddush HaChodesh. His book "Guide to the Laws of Foreclosure" has been published in many editions.
His stay in Switzerland, where Jewish slaughter was forbidden at the end of the 19th century, led Rabbi Dr. Levinger to deal with the question of the morality of Jewish slaughter and later published books explaining the scientific aspect of slaughter and teaching about its morality. Originally, the books were written in German and English and served as a major propaganda tool against the demand of European animal welfare associations to ban Jewish slaughter. Later one of the books was translated into Hebrew.
After completing veterinary studies, Rabbi Levinger returned to Israel and worked in the veterinary services in northern Israel and taught at the Department of Zoology at Bar-Ilan University. He later completed another doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the study of the nervous system.
In 1964, Rabbi Dr. Levinger founded the Institute for the Study of Treasures in the Department of Zoology at Bar-Ilan University, in cooperation with the Institute for Agriculture according to the Torah, and published his book "kosher food from animals", which coordinates all kashrut issues of animals. Bar-Ilan served as the director of the Institute of Scientific and Technological Studies in Halacha in Jerusalem and was responsible for publishing the first books of the Institute.
Rabbi Dr. Levinger is considered an expert on zoology and his halakhic-halakhic aspects, and he studies the identity and legitimacy of various animals that appear in the Bible, as well as an expert on the identification of the seven pure animals mentioned in Parashat Re'eh in Deuteronomy. World renowned fish kashrut.
In 1994, during the period of his rabbinate in Basel, Rabbi Levinger published the book "Maor for Tractate Chulin, Bechorot and Shechitat Kodshim".
Between 1976 and 1979 he served as rabbi in Cologne, Germany. In the early 1980s he was appointed Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Basel (IGB), where he served for twenty-two years. He was a member of the Standing Committee of the European Rabbinical Union and chairman of the organization's Kashrut Committee.
He also established in Switzerland the well-known kashrut system "Kashrut of Basel", later renamed "Maor HaKashrut", which today is responsible for about 200 factories in Europe and worldwide.
Rabbi Levinger is now considered one of the greatest authority in all kashrut matters.