web analytics
March 2, 2015 / 11 Adar , 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.

Current Top Story
Some 1,500 teens from around the world at the Chabad CTeen convention hear a personal greeting from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on March 1, 2015.
Ban Ki-moon Greets 1,500 Jewish Teens at Chabad CTeen Convention
Latest Indepth Stories
Middle-East-map

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu carried his message to Americans through the media after meeting with President Obama and castigating Iran at the UN. (September 30, 2013)

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

israel-day-parade-bds

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

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: