Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Teves 5766 - January 4, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Delivering the Goods
Reminiscences of the Inception of Bais Yaakov of Baltimore

by Rochel Leah Perlman

I remember very well the first time I walked past the future home of the Bais Yaakov in Baltimore. The grounds included acres of land, dozens of trees and lush lawns surrounding one large building. Alongside it was a small building that had served former owners as a stable for their horses and buggy and which became a roomy garage. Of course, when we learned that the city of Baltimore was to be blessed with a Bais Yaakov school, we took a very active interest.

Rabbi Hirsh Diskind, now residing in Har Nof, was given the position of principal of the first Hebrew girls school outside of New York. Rabbi Diskind was a newcomer to Baltimore and had a big job facing him before the school could open its gates. Take the `little house' that shared the spacious grounds of the main building. It was in a terrible state of disrepair. My husband, Avrohom, o.b.m., and my brother, Jacob Pheterson, undertook the job of renovation as their self-appointed chessed project. They cleaned it, put in a strong floor, new windows and a sturdy roof. This was now ready to house the kindergarten.

When the main building was in shape, the school was ready to operate. There was, however, the big problem of bussing the students, since it was far from the religious neighborhoods. Since my husband knew Baltimore like the palm of his hand, he was very instrumental in setting up an efficient bus route to transport all the students to and from school. Over the years, he volunteered for numerous other projects, as Rabbi Diskind disclosed when he came to pay a condolence visit after my husband passed away.

My husband and brother continued with their "hands on" help in the very literal sense. One of the big projects was raising funds to keep the school going. Baltimore was filled with precious Jews who devised many ways of getting money for various good causes. There was one particularly wealthy Jew who owned many acres of forest land. Before Succos each year, he had his workers trim branches from the trees and let the neighbors help themselves. When the school was opened, my husband convinced him to cut a greater number and transport them to the school grounds so that it could be sold for the school.

Our Jewish community was very happy to purchase this fragrant schach for their succos and thereby, help out the school. The problem was transporting the branches to the various addresses. On the Sunday before Succos, my husband and brother got to work. The students of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim were also enlisted to help. Anyone with a truck used to donate it for the day and the boys joined forces, loading up the trucks from the Bais Yaakov school grounds and then delivering the branches to the homes and synagogues which had ordered them.

The deliveries took place in all kinds of weather, many times in pouring rain, but this did not deter the dedicated volunteers. The men and students worked all day and sometimes into the night, coming home soaked to the bone, but happy to have helped in this major community effort.


Rabbi Mordechai Perlman, son of Mrs. Rochel Leah, may her years increase in good health and nachas, adds his own reminiscing touch: "My father, z'l, would make one condition on the delivery day. It was that my mother made sure to have her delicious cabbage soup, hot and ready, for whenever he returned home, however late it might be."


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