web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Living Treasure


As we celebrate Shavuot and consider how the Torah travels across the globe and through time, it just the right moment to meet a guide to six generations of this transmission, Rebbetzin Miriam Goldschmidt of Jerusalem.

Rebbetzin Goldschmidt memories go back to her grandfather Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel (1849-1927), the Alter, the venerable one, a powerful personality who led the yeshiva in Slabodka, Lithuania. Her vision goes forward to her great-grandson, whose parents flew from Canada to study Torah in Israel.

In the century and a half since the birth of the rebbetzin famous ancestor, transportation has changed from horse and wagon to jet plane, but Torah life is constant.

During interviews in April and November 2005, Rebbetzin Goldschmidt brought to life a more complex world than the olden days of popular imagination. Her parents, Rav Shlomo Yehuda Leib and Sara Liba Plachinsky, moved for the sake of their children education from Vishkis, where he was the third generation in his family to serve as rabbi, to Dvinsk in Latvia, where they were happy to find a Torah elementary school that was co-ed through fourth grade.

Although two extraordinary scholars, the Rogatchover (Rav Yosef Rosen, author of the Tzofnat Panei ch) and Rav Meir Simcha HaKohen (known for his Or Samei ch and Meshech Hochmah) lived in Dvinsk, the city religious community was small. Since it could not sustain a high school, Miriam went in 1929 to live with her maternal aunt and uncle Rebbetzin Gutel and Rav Isaac Sher in Lithuania.

While Bais Yaakov schools are justly famous, it is important to note that there were schools for girls in Kovna, Telz and Ponevez in Lithuania, and in Riga, Latvia. Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch had already founded a high school for girls in the middle of the nineteenth century. Rebbetzin Goldschmidt has a photograph from the early 1930′s of students and teachers from the Kovna and Telz schools on the dock near a boat they rented for a joint trip. A live wire from her youth on, Miriam is in the center of the front row.

In Kovna school began at 8 a.m. with Shacharit led by a student chazzanit. Since they said brachot at home, the students davened an abbreviated tefillah: Baruch Sh mar through Sh oneh Esrei, then Ashrei, Aleinu and Shir Shel Yom. Classes went until 2 p.m. with a break at noon for the girls to eat lunch at home.

There were preparatory classes, then a complete high school and classes beyond. A student who passed the matriculation exams could go on to the university. Although Kovna had more than one gymnasium for secular studies, the religious school was so esteemed that non-observant families also sent their daughters to it.

When an important visitor came to Kovna or to Telz, he spoke at the girls school as well as at the boys yeshiva. Rebbetzin Goldschmidt remembered especially talks by Rav Joseph Carlebach (1882-1942) of Hamburg, the great Torah scholar and rabbinic leader. (Rav Carlebach founded the first Hebrew high school in German-occupied Kovna during World War I, but Miriam was only an infant then. The family continues to enrich Jewish life: his son, Rav Shlomo Carlebach, is a masterful Torah mentor whose daughter Elisheva is a noted professor of Jewish history).

Rav David Carlebach, who later made aliyah, was Miriam first principal in the gymnasium, followed by Mr. Teitz, a religious man who was not a rav. Dr. Valdberg, a medical doctor, taught hygiene and psychology, but also knew history and taught that as well. He had a sense of humor and was an exemplary model of Torah and secular wisdom. Arav, Shmuel Katz, taught German.

About the Author: Dr. Rivkah Blau is the author of “Learn Torah, Love Torah, Live Torah,” a biography of Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz; the Hebrew translation is entitled “V’Samachta B’Chayekha."


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Living Treasure”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Dr. Rivkah Blau
Rav Yosef Rosen, the Rogatchover Gaon

His phenomenal memory encompassed the Written Torah, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, and all the major commentaries.

book-diversity-divine

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

Of course it is disingenuous to tell a person from a non-rabbinic, non-rosh yeshiva home to make an effort.

When I give this book, the parents look at the gold Caldecott Medal on the front cover and smile, but look up quizzically – a book for a newborn?

Determination is now being studied by educators and psychologists who want to understand why some people born with every gift do not achieve a meaningful adulthood, while others born into a challenging existence rise above their beginnings to enjoy accomplished lives.

I had heard singing from across the street several times at the end of Shabbos but hadn’t realized the singing was a prelude to Havdalah.

“Radical,” from the Latin word for “root,” means going to the foundation. The foundation is what we have to think about when celebrating a simcha. Instead of peripheral concerns – photographing the proceedings, for example – we should attend to the meaning of the event.

You can tell Rabbi Yossy Goldman’s book From Where I Stand: Life Messages from the Weekly Torah Reading by its covers. The front cover is a photograph of a rabbi in a shul that is full of light.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-living-treasure/2006/05/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: