This past Friday, the 19th of Shevat, chareidi Jewry was cast
into a deep pall of mourning over the petirah of HaRav
Shmuel Carlebach, one of the most important chinuch
figures of our times, and the educational director of the
Bnei Brak Or Hachaim Seminary and the Beis Yaakov Seminary of
Ashdod. He was niftar after a brief illness, at the
age of 72. His levaya was attended by thousands of
Bnei Brak's residents.
R' Shmuel Carlebach was born on yom tov sheini of
Shavuos in Frankfort, Germany. The home of his father, Reb
Naftoli, was saturated with ahavas Torah and yiras
Shomayim. In his youth, R' Shmuel studied in the chareidi
talmud Torah named after R' Shamshon Raphael Hirsch.
Even during his early years, his longing to grow in Torah and
draw closer to the Borei Yisborach were evident.
At the beginning of the Holocaust, Reb Naftoli was sent to
the work camps, while R' Shmuel, along with a group of other
youths, was sent to Belgium, where he was saved. His father
managed to escape the Valley of Death and to reach
In 5699 )1939(, the Carlebach family settled in Tel Aviv, and
R' Shmuel was enrolled in the Moriah school. He remained firm
in his desire to continue his studies in a yeshiva
kedosha, and merited to be one of the first students of
Yeshivas Kol Torah and the outstanding student of R' Yechiel
Michel Schlesinger, its founder.
At that time, many young people from Torah backgrounds were
convinced to join the underground, working against the
British occupation. Seeing how strong of spirit he was, the
underground members tried to persuade him to join their
ranks, saying: "We need people like you." Once they even
placed a gun on his bed to hint to him how serious they
In 5606, he entered Ponovezh and became one of its
outstanding masmidim. He was very close to the Rav of
Ponovezh, who admired R' Shmuel's firm outlook. He was also
close to the mashgiach, R' Abba Grossbard and the
mashgiach, HaRav Eliyahu Dessler.
In 5611, he married the daughter of R' Meshulem Levi, one of
the founders of the Yesodei HaTorah Talmud Torah of Tel Aviv,
and together they built a model Torah home. After his
marriage, he continued to study with much hasmodoh in
the kollel of Ponovezh. In time, he was invited to
preside as a ram in the Tiferes Tzion yeshiva, where
he taught for many years, as well as in the yeshiva of Rav Y.
Torchin in Yehud.
In 5715, Rav Wolf asked him to direct the Or Hachaim Seminary
for girls. He headed this institution for thirty years. With
fatherly love and concern, he devoted himself to his
students' chinuch and continued to offer them guidance
for many years after their marriages.
The gedolei hador, among them HaRav Yaakov Yisroel
Kanievsky zt"l and Maran, HaRav Eliezer Menachem
Shach, shlita, held him in great esteem, due to his
efforts on behalf of the chinuch of young Jewish
women. "The entire Torah world of Sephardi Jews rests on your
shoulders, because if Jewish daughters do not receive pure
chinuch in accordance with the true yeshivisheh
outlook, there will be no future for the bnei
yeshiva," the gedolei haTorah said. A generation
of Sephardi bnei Torah was established through his
When the Education Ministry demanded that the subjects of
psychology and pedagogy be included in the seminaries, he
published the book Darkeinu beChinuch on pedagogy, at
Rav Wolf's behest, while Rav Wolf published Toras
Hanefesh, on psychology. Their purpose was to prevent
Jewish young women from studying from books which were
written by people with heretical ideas. These books became an
integral part of the Beis Yaakov curriculum.
In 5745 )1985(, he was appointed head of the Seminar Avos of
the Ponovezh Institutions of Ashdod, and the educational
director of Be'er Miriam in Bnei Brak, and remained in those
capacities until his final day.
Seven moths ago, his wife passed away, and he himself began
to prepare for his own passage into the Word of Truth. A
month ago, he was asked to donate a sum of money for
hachnosas kallah. He gave the trustee of the fund a
check for the 19th of Shevat, the day of his petirah.
When asked if the money was donated in memory of his wife, he
said that he also needed tzeida laderech. On Thursday
night, the 19th of Shevat, he suffered from a stroke, and on
Friday morning returned his pure soul to its Maker.
He is survived by five sons, four daughters and sons-in-law,
and thousands of students, both young women and men, all of
whom are pursuing the path he charted for them, and all of
whom deeply mourn the great loss of their beloved rav and