Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Cheshvan 5766 - November 9, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Matisyohu Salomon Speaks at Bais Yaakov Dinner in South Africa

by D Saks, South African Correspondent

HaRav Matisyohu Salomon, mashgiach ruchani at Lakewood Yeshiva in the US, was the keynote speaker at last Sunday's dinner celebrating 30 years of Bais Yaakov in South Africa. Amongst the many esteemed rabbonim present were Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein and Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag. This was the second major commemorative event organized by Bais Yaakov this year. In March, teachers, pupils and mothers from Bais Yaakov school devoted a day to lectures, shiurim and poetry readings to mark the seventieth yahrtzeit of Soroh Schenirer, founder of the Bais Yaakov movement.

Since its modest beginnings in the suburb of Yeoville, Johannesburg, Bais Yaakov in South Africa has grown steadily, despite the attrition the Jewish community suffered from emigration in the 1980s and 1990s. Next year, enrollment is expected to be at an all-time high. Over the past three decades, Bais Yaakov has produced hundreds of committed young graduates, most of whom have subsequently gone on to further their studies at seminaries in Eretz Yisroel and the United Kingdom. A high proportion of these today are teachers and rebbetzins in their own right, both in South Africa and abroad.

Rabbi Salomon expressed his wonder at the growth of Torah Yiddishkeit throughout the world, something that defied explanation unless one recognized in the great miracle the Hand of Hashem. He paid moving tribute to the great Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman, the famed Ponovezher Rav, who had visited South Africa at the very dawn of the great Jewish revival whose fruits were now so evident in the community. Despite his personal anguish at having witnessed the Churban in Nazi- held Europe and the extremely low levels of knowledge and practice in the community at the time, the Ponovezher Rav had not given up on South African Jewry but made an effort to reach out to it. Rabbi Salomon believed that his neshomoh was present that night, when the children and grandchildren of those he had reached out to were receiving a Torah education in a school comparable to any school like it in the world.

Chief Rabbi Goldstein strongly stressed the absolute priority that talmud Torah needed to be given to ensure that the Jewish people would be successful. Torah was the lifeblood of the Jewish people he said, and without it they would not have koach for anything. People too often failed to realize that when the Jewish people were confused and lacking in direction, it was because they needed regeneration in their commitment to Torah. Today, the only segment of world Jewry community outside Israel that was growing in both numbers and commitment was the Torah- observant community.

"Let us reconnect ourselves, as the South African Jewish community, to redoubling our efforts in Torah and to rejoicing over it. May Hashem Yisborach pour out His brochos on us," Rabbi Goldstein concluded.

Rabbi Salomon was introduced by Rabbi Chaim Shein, menahel of Bais Yaakov, who took the opportunity to sketch the history of the school. He noted that in addition to fulfilling its core mission of producing good Jewish mothers who could hand on the timeless tradition of Torah, Bais Yaakov also had an outstanding record in secular studies, putting it in the forefront of private schools throughout South Africa.


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