Last week I briefly mentioned the Novominsker Rebbe zt”l, who served as a leader of American Jewry until his petirah, death, a few weeks ago. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a Zoom azkoroh hosted by Agudath Israel of America, outlining the Rebbe’s life and accomplishments. The Rebbe, Harav Yaakov Perlow, taught at Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago under Rav Aharon Soloveitchik, and became Rosh Yeshivah at the Breuer’s yeshivah in Washington Heights, New York. After the death of his father, he began serving as Novominsker Rebbe, establishing the Novominsk Hasidic Center and founded his own yeshivah in Brooklyn, NY. At the speeches memorializing the Rebbe it was noted that he never sought kovod, honor, and preferred not to be in the public eye. When he was finally called to serve, he undertook this responsibility most earnestly. Until a day before his death, he was the major spokesman for Agudath Israel of America, and had to take positions on many difficult issues that others may have stayed away from. If it affected the future of Orthodox Jewry, whether in education or in the halls of government, his voice was heard, especially in reference to Agudath Israel, which serves as a strong advisory to our school on our SGO program.
For decades the Rebbe served as the head of the Moetzes of Torah Umesorah and penned divrei chizuk only a day before his death at a time when he had no energy left. In his role at Torah Umesorah he was able to use his diverse training and understanding of people to reach out across the religious spectrum. Although staunch in his policies, he was careful never to let his personal feelings reflect his message to schools. He understood that not all schools were the same and his messaging was custom made for each. He was brilliant in his knowledge of Torah, was respectful of all – and respected by all. He was known as a person who had time to give chizuk to young and old, including bochurim in his yeshivah. Reb Elya Brudny pointed out that although the Rebbe was the head of his school, he hired a Rosh Yeshivah, diminishing his personal kovod for the sake of the success of the yeshivah. Harav Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Yisrael Yeshivah, remarked that he recalls the days of learning bechavrusa with the Rebbe and his brilliance in learning.
The Torah world mourns the irreplaceable loss of the Novominsker Rebbe z”tl.
We as a school are all joining together to make the best of a difficult situation. Torah Umesorah sent out a memo this week from the Vaad of Roshei Yeshivah congratulating the staff in all the schools. They are all working overtime to prepare the best program that they can for their students – your children. We all realize that home schooling in these difficult times is stressful and they encourage all parents to show extra appreciation and respect for the staff of each school.
I share this only because I truly feel the respect from our parents and the many letters of support that were shared with me and my colleagues. I thank all our administrative, secretarial, teacher, and parent partners who are all working together to ensure the success of every child. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any concerns. In this newsletter I have also shared a comprehensive distance learning update. Please read as there is important information contained in the letter.
Best wishes for a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman