Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Iyar 5766 - May 10, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

The Many Against the Few
Beis Yaakov -
From a Tender Seedling to a Fruitful Tree

by Yehudit Golan


The Temptation of Poalei Agudath Israel

After Ben Gurion announced in 5714 that there would be an annulment of the branches, the Beis Yaakov schools were left with a broken trough. The only option left to them was to join with the Mizrachi and enjoy the budgets or to remain an independent body and finance 40% of the expenses themselves.

It was a harsh decree. The funding of 40% of the expenses of dozens of schools required gathering very hefty and ongoing donations, something that wasn't de rigueur until then. There was the fear that the thriving that had taken place during the time of the branches would ebb and the educational labor of years would go to waste.

"During the summer break, all the principals of the schools in Jerusalem assembled in the school yard of Chorev school," testified Rav Samuel, who himself was the principal of the Beis Yaakov school in the Mekor Chaim transit camp and later in Katamonim. "The principals were very bitter and didn't know what had happened. There had always been problems with the salaries and now when the schools would only be given a 60% budget, how would they manage at all?

"Representatives of Poalei Agudath Israel arrived and announced the formation of a PAI branch within the framework of state religious schools. 'If all of you join our branch, you'll enjoy a budget of 100%!' they offered us. The proposition was tempting and many voices voted in favor. I was at the head of the opposition but the decision was arbitrary and valid. Then I left the assembly in the middle and ran to Rav Lieberman and to Rav Moshe Porush to inform them of it. They were shocked at first but immediately sprang into action, each with the institutions he was most connected with, to ascertain that they would not join the PAI network. All the principals who agreed to Rav Lieberman's and Rav Porush's request received only 60% from then on. The situation was difficult and the trial great. However, they received encouragement and support from the Rebbe of Gur, who even gave of his own money."

The captains of the ship of independent education weathered stormy years. And much has been told about them. However, fifty years later, the hard days are behind them and chareidi education continues to flourish and thrive.

Then You Will See and Be Filled With Light

Chanukah 5764. In the Binyanei Hauma conference center in Jerusalem, rows upon rows of ten-year-old girls are squirming in the cushioned seats, too big for them, waiting for the beginning of the "Aliyah LeBatya" ceremony. Suddenly, as if a slice of history is being played out in front of their wondering eyes — Rav Hillel Lieberman!

His face reflects worlds of purity and noble serenity that ninety years of troubles were unable to efface and draws the attention of the thousands of girls who whisper on the news . . . Rav Hillel!

"In the last year of his life," his son Rav Yeshayahu says, "Father was very weak. It seemed as if this time he wouldn't be able to get to `Aliyah LeBatya' and bless the girls, as had been his custom for years. However, I visited him on that day, and when I arrived, he was already prepared to go. For him — there was never any question."

2,500 Beis Yaakov girls, gathered from every fourth grade in the Jerusalem area, listened to the blessing that Rav Hillel gave them for the last time in his life.

Looking at the wonderful sight of the filled hall, Rav Hillel wiped an unseen tear. This vision, this inconceivable blessing that he saw in front of him, returned him over fifty years back in time. "I was optimistic," Rav Hillel smiled, after his overflowing emotions had subsided a bit, "I had dared hope that there would be a thousand Beis Yaakov students throughout the country . . . " For several weeks the wonderful picture kept Rav Hillel's heart beating and the words of Yishayahu the prophet were not diminished:

"Lift up your eyes round about and see, they have all gathered together to come to you . . . Then you will see and be filled with light and your heart shall tremble and be enlarged . . . " (Yishayahu 60, 4-5)



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