The “Russian” Torah of America
Coming Full Circle, or the Return of Torah
It said in the advertisement that this was the Third Annual Dinner of Toldos Yeshurun but most probably, this was something more. The organizers themselves called it an International Day of Torah. The organization's difficult financial position notwithstanding, it was decided to make not only a dinner but a day of Torah.Especially for this, Rav Ben Tzion Zilber and Rebbetzin Chava Kuperman — the children of Rav Yitzchok Zilber — , Rav Tzvi Patlas and Rebbetzin Esther Offengenden flew in to New York. At 11 am, the two halls — one for men, one for women — were packed. People from different communities came to hear the famous lecturers — and not only from New York, but also from New Jersey, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and even from far-away Phoenix and Canada — Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and other cities.
On the day of Torah itself which took place on January 4th, classes were given one after the other, the learning was very intense — but already throughout the previous week, the lecturers of Toldos Yeshurun gave classes in Chicago, Detroit, Passaic, Queens and many other New York communities.The previous Shabbos, the Toldos Yeshurun lecturers gave 12 classes in various communities in Brooklyn alone.For many, these were not just wonderful classes, but also the opportunity for private conversation, personal contact with the famous Rabbanim.
The Day of Torah on January 4th came to conclusion with the Celebratory Fundrasing Dinner where the children of three Torah giants who are to be credited with the rebirth of Torah in America — Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yakov Kamenetzky and Rav Aharon Kotler — addressed the present Russian-speaking baalei teshuvah and bnei Torah who today learn Torah and support Toldos Yeshurun, with words of blessing and support for the cause of the return of Torah. It is interesting to note that these American Gedolim were originally from Russia — Rav Kamenetsky and Rav Kotler were from Minsk, and Rav Feinstein from Luban.
Toldos Yeshurun, the kiruv organization for Russian Jews, founded by HaRav Yitzchak Zilber zt'l, proudly remembers the three Torah giants who escaped Communist Russia to become the foremost leaders of American Jewry. The paved the way for every Russian Jew to come all the way home.
It was meaningful and touching to hear the speeches of the American Gedolim of today at the dinner:
Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky, Rosh Yeshivas Philadelphia
Rav Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshivas Tiferes Yerushalayim
Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshivah of Beis Midrash Govoha, Lakewood
Rav Moshe Eliezer Rabinowitz, US Chairman of Toldos Yeshurun
The Toldos Yeshurun organization was founded by the leader of the Russian-speaking community, Rav Yitzchok Zilber, whose students today continue their teacher's cause in many countries and cities. Therefore it was only natural that the guests of honor were the Rabbis of Russian-speaking communities in America, many of whom are talmidim and followers of the Rav:
Rav Eliezer Yitzchak Mandel, Ameinu, Toronto
Rav Paysach Diskind, Achim, Baltimore Rav Yakov Lomner, Zichron Aharon Tzvi Shul for Russian-speakers, Brooklyn
Rav Asher Altshul, Russian-speaking Community Jewish Center «Nachalat Tzion», Brooklyn
Rav Mordechai Tokarsky, Shaarei Emunah Center for Russian-speakers, Brooklyn
Rav Yosef Amsel, Rosh Yeshiva Tal Torah Yeshiva for Russian-speakers, Lakewood
Rav Pinchus Bobrovsky, Darchei Avoseinu Russian-speaking Community, Brooklyn
Rav Avrohom Binsky, Kehilas Moreshes Yaakov Russian-speaking community, Brooklyn
Rav Yitzchak Shimonov, Beis Malkiel community, Brooklyn
Rav Yisroel Zelman, «Shomrei Hadas» religious community of Moscow
United Orthodox Community of Atlanta
Rav Aryeh Katzin, Sinai Academy Yeshiva and High School, Brooklyn
Rav Eliezer Dimarsky, Heritage Russian-speaking Community, Chicago
Rav Mordechai Yaroslawitz, Seminars for Russian-speakers, St Louis
But the most important guests of the dinner were the several tens of Russian-speaking friends of Toldos Yeshurun — Zevulun-Yissachar partners who committed themselves to pay the work of one or several teachers of Toldos Yeshurun for one year. And this evening was a wonderful occasion to thank them for that.A big thank you to Rav Moshe Rabinowitz, US Chairman of Toldos Yeshurun, who led the evening, to the famous Chassidic singer Lipa Shmeltzer who opened the festive evening with the song «Have Mercy, Hashem, on the People of Eretz Yisroel» (as we already wrote, the evening took place in the midst of battles in Gaza), to the Buriev brothers of Queens who helped organize the book sale, to Rav Krelin with his wife and daughters who organized the children"s program, to Binyamin Lerner for the musical accompaniment, to Pinchas Kleinman and his wife who greeted the guests of the evening, to Yisroel Akerman, representative of the international Shadchan network, who set up an impromptu session of Jewish matchmaking during the breaks, to the Toldos Yeshurun representatives in America — Shlomo Meir Sheinblum and his wife as well as Reuven Gaz and his wife, and to Aizik Shimonov, to Chaim Rozen, to Tzvi Hirsh Starnis and many others who invested much effort so that it should be a true Celebration of Torah.
We hope to see you, with G-d"s help, next year as well at the Day of Torah for American Russian-speaking Jews, the realization of which can become possible, among others, through your help.