Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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10 Shevat 5759 - Jan. 27, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Farewell to Rabbi Zahn of Sunderland

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Sunderland kehilla bade farewell to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shammai Zahn, who are moving shortly to Gateshead, at a recent festive luncheon in the shul hall which was filled to capacity. Over two hundred present and past members from all over the U.K., as well as family and friends, joined together to pay respect to their beloved Rov and Rebbetzin.

The President of the kehilla, Mr. Johen Sadlik read out letters of greeting from Lord Jakobovits, Emeritus Chief Rabbi and current Chief Rabbi Jonathon Sacks. In presenting the Rov and Rebbetzin with an engraved glass bowl and testimonial present, Mr. Sadlik spoke of the esteem in which the kehilla held the Rov, and the luster given to it by his presence.

Guest Speaker Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, rosh beis din, London, representing the Anglo-Jewish Rabbinate, spoke as a talmid, paying tribute to his own great personal debt of hakoras hatov to his rebbe and also to Rebbetzin Zahn who has taught generations of girls including his own daughters, and has been a mainstay of support to the Rov. Dayan Ehrentreu declared that wherever he travels he meets ex-Sunderlanders who keep alive the spirit of their hometown.

Lt. Colonel Morduant Cohen, a grandson of the founder of the Sunderland Beis Hamedrash, Reb Yechezkel Cohen z'l, Honorary Life president of the kehilla, paid a warm tribute to Rabbi Zahn making special mention of his patience and understanding of others.

Mr. Maurice Minchom & Mr. Charles Slater spoke on behalf of the Chevra Kadisha and kehilla respectively. Rabbi Dovid Zahn, a son of the Rov, stressed the warmth, kindness and friendship shown to him and the family and expressed his gratitude to the kehilla.

Rabbi Zahn, in an emotional address, reminisced that he had lived in Sunderland for 52 years, since the founding of the Yeshiva, and had been communal rov for 18 years. He recalled that Sunderland had always been unique amongst provincial towns, "Wunderland" in the words of the Luztker Rov zt"l and "Besunderland" as described by the Ponovezher Rov zt"l. He stressed the importance of coming regularly to shul, protecting oneself from outside influences, and continuing that spirit of kindness, tzedokoh and kovod HaTorah that characterized the kehilla.

Rabbi Zahn declared that although he was relocating to be close to his family, he would still be available to help the kehilla, and hoped to retain close ties with them.

Other speakers referred to Rebbetzin Zahn's encyclopedic knowledge and devotion to her pupils over a teaching career spanning more than 50 years.

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