A memorial plaque was affixed to the building of Sara
Schenirer's Beis Yaakov Seminary in Cracow at a recent
stirring ceremony. It was attended by approximately a
hundred women, former Bais Yaakov students from different
Rabbi Yechezkel Besser of the American Agudas Yisroel was
initiator of the effort to put up the plaque. Rabbi Besser
is actively involved in the preservation of Jewish
historical sites in Europe. During a tour of Cracow, he
discovered that the building of the seminary in which Sara
Schenirer had taught in 5687 (1927) is still standing. Rabbi
Besser secured two rooms in the building from the Polish
government. The rooms will serve as headquarters of an
institute for the documentation of the Bais Yaakov idea.
Rabbi Besser felt that it was important to immortalize the
building by affixing a plaque containing the building's
history. The Polish government and the Municipality of
Cracow approved the idea, hoping it would draw tourists and
Mrs. Aliza Grund, Rabbi Besser's daughter, suggested that a
ceremony be held, to be attended by Bais Yaakov students
from all over the world. A hundred women participated in the
trip, 25 of them from Israel.
Upon their arrival in Warsaw, a reception was held for the
visitors in the presidential palace, attended by the
president of Poland and Rabbi Besser. The president
expressed his approval for the preservation of the legacy of
The group then set out for Beit Sholom, a Jewish community
center adjacent to the Yocheck synagogue which still
operates on a regular basis. They later visited the site of
the Warsaw ghetto. It is totally plowed over today, and a
monument is the sole reminder of its past.
The visitors prayed beside the ohalim of the Netziv
and of the Admorim of Radomsk, Gur and others that have been
recently renovated. Additional tours were held of Lublin,
Gur, Lizhansk and other cities, as well as of Auschwitz.
The ceremony in Cracow, the city of the Ramo, was attended
by prominent members of the city as well as by Rabbi Besser,
who removed the covering from the plaque and addressed the
group. The plaque has inscriptions in Hebrew, English and
Polish. An excerpt of a eulogy by HaRav Alexander Zusha
Friedman appears on the plaque: "A woman who was a mother to
thousands and tens thousands, a caressing and a caring
mother whose fervent words captured hearts: the fervor of a
loving, caring mother. Favorable memories will accompany her
great soul for hundreds of generations and years. May her
name be remembered with praise and honor."
The English inscription says, "This building, built and
dedicated in 1927, was the home of the Beth Jacob Teachers'
Seminary founded in 1917 by Sarah Schenirer. It was here
that daughters of Israel from many countries of Central and
Eastern Europe came to study Torah. A spark kindled in
Cracow grew to a flame that radiated throughout Poland and
across the oceans. This light of Torah continues to
illuminate the hearts and minds of Jewish girls throughout
the world. Dedicated by the Sara Schenirer Commemorative
Committee, Agudah Women of America, May 2001, Iyar 5761."
A synagogue will be erected on the site. In Cracow, a city
of half a million residents, there are currently about 150