web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Bringing Torah Education To Baltimore


Glimpses-100308

Share Button

   There are those who have the foresight to establish institutions that leave a lasting impression on Klal Yisrael. One such man was Rabbi Abraham Nachman Schwartz, who founded Yeshiva Torah ve-Emunah Hebrew Parochial School in Baltimore.

 

   “The school had been established in a room on the second floor of a residential building. It began with only four young children, but now [in 1925] consisted of three grades, with both Hebrew and secular studies. A new phenomenon in America, it was the first school of this type to be established outside of New York City. (It remained the only one for nearly three decades.)”[i]
“In those days the parochial system of education was quite an innovation in Jewish life, and it was quite difficult to gain the sympathy of the average man in the street. But the founder [Rav Schwartz] who has built for himself a most glorious monument did not swerve from his conviction. With just a handful of men and women he founded and guided the institution through its early critical stages and was privileged to inspire the current movement for a new building for the school.”[ii]
The school was chartered in 1917 and in 1923 merged with the one-year old Talmudical Seminary of Baltimore. In 1937 the school’s charter was officially amended and the school was renamed Talmudical Academy of Baltimore. Rabbi Schwartz served as dean from its inception until his passing. Today “TA” is a vibrant educational institution providing a Torah education for students from pre-school through bais medrash. It stands as a monument to Rav Schwartz’s efforts in the fostering of Yiddishkeit in Baltimore.
*     *     *
Abraham Nachman Schwartz was born in 1871 in Lenz, a Lithuanian town located in Kovno Province. He studied for many years in a number of Lithuanian yeshivas, including Rassein, Krok, Telz, and eventually the famous Kovno Kollel. He received s’micha from the following eminent rabbonim – Rabbi Alexander Moshe Lapidus of Rassein, Rabbi Yosef Zechariah of Shavel, Rabbi Raphael Shapiro of Volozhin, and Rabbi Yitzchok Elchanan Spector of Kovno.
In 1890 he married Golda Miriam Preil, a sister of Rabbi Elazar Meir Preil (1881-1933), who served for many years as rav of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rabbi Preil was the father-in-law of Rabbi Pinchas Mordechai Teitz (1908-1995), who succeeded him in Elizabeth.
“In 1895 Schwartz was appointed Talmud instructor at the Krok yeshiva and from 1898 to 1905 served as communal rabbi of the Ukrainian town of Navoh Odem. Immigrating to the United States in 1906, Schwartz became rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Chesed in New London, Connecticut. Two years later he became rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Mishmeret Kodesh in Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained for the next 29 years.
“While Schwartz’s Baltimore congregation consisted of mostly Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, his influence extended to all Jews. As one of the leading Talmud scholars of Baltimore, Schwartz offered personal counsel to numerous individuals and responded to all matters of religious concern. When an alarming increase in crime befell neighborhoods in East Baltimore, Schwartz worked closely with civic officials to quell the problem.”[iii]
“What the life of Rabbi Abraham Nachman Schwartz meant to Baltimore Jewry cannot as yet be fully appreciated. He belonged to those Jewish leaders whose achievements are not to be viewed in terms of their own day. He worked with an eye toward the future. Having evaluated the Jewish scene in Baltimore rather keenly, he knew where to place the emphasis of Jewish values, and he stressed those values with constant persistency.
“During the trying days of [World War I], when the physical safety of our people was the chief concern of Jewish leaders, Rabbi Schwartz built the spiritual fortress of Baltimore Jewish life in the form of the Parochial School. It must have been a source of gratification for him during his last days to see with his own eyes the beginning of the realization of his fondest dream. Here again, it was the idea of Jewish learning that was the mainspring of his enthusiasm for the Parochial School.
“Rabbi Schwartz was well known for the brevity of his remarks. His speeches were always marked by a sense of humor, by a certain directness, and by the quality of their contents. He always had something to say, and he said much in a few words. When many speakers addressed an audience from the same platform, the message of Rabbi Schwartz was usually outstanding. People quoted him and delighted in repeating his ‘words of wisdom.’ It was the teacher who spoke rather than the preacher.
“To this day people are repeating the wise admonition which Rabbi Schwartz uttered at my installation ceremonies at the Shaarei Zion Synagogue. In a few words he depicted the position of the younger rabbi in American Jewish life, and he said: ‘Do not burden your rabbi with too many social duties; give him enough time for scholarship. A rabbi must never stop studying and learning.’ It was in line with his theory that the rabbinate is primarily a position of scholarship. He believed that Jewish leadership can be effective only when it goes hand in hand with Jewish learning, and he applied this principle time and again during his creative life in Baltimore.
“Despite the fact that he was steeped in the very heart of Jewish tradition, Rabbi Schwartz understood the modern world, and was in his way modern enough to keep abreast of the time. He was a tolerant person, too, and he was admired and respected by men of all shades of opinion, as the stalwart champion of unadulterated Jewishness.”[iv]

Rabbi Schwartz was indeed respected by all segments of the Baltimore Jewish community. Mr. Joseph Isadore Paper wrote:

 

It is not necessary to be European born or to be educated in cheder or in the yeshiva in order to appreciate a human being, a Rabbi, who devotes his entire life to the Torah, to Judaism. And we, the Americans, are in dire need of Jews who truly preach and sincerely practice the Laws of Moses.
           I mourn for thee, Rabbi Abraham Schwartz. My father, an Orthodox Jew and chassid, taught me to revere and respect you; and when God called my father away, I said Kaddish at your synagogue so that you, a true Jew, should say omen [sic].
 

            In the winter evenings of two years past, seated in the Beth Amedrosh [sic] of the Shomrei Mishmereth Shule and listening attentively to your melodious interpretations of the Gemorah, you instilled within me the joy and not the sadness of Kaddish. Now that you too are gone, Jewish traditions flicker: give us this day others to keep the light of Israel burning. You speak no more, I see you always.[v]

 

Rabbi Schwartz passed away on February 4, 1937.

 

 

 

Dr. Yitzchok Levine is a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. “Glimpses Into American Jewish History” appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at  llevine@stevens.edu. 

 



[i]A Jubilee of Watching, The Story of HaRav Chayim Eliezer Samson by Rachel Samson Rabinowitz, Feldheim Publishers, 1994, pages 76 – 77.

 

[ii]“Rabbi Schwartz of Blessed Memory, A Word of Tribute – After the ‘Shloshim’ Period” by Rabbi Israel Tabak, March 19, 1937. This paper clipping was obtained from The Jewish Museum of Maryland. Unfortunately, the source of the article is not given.

 

[iii]Orthodox Judaism in America, a Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook by Moshe D. Sherman, Greenwood Press, 1966, page 192.

 

[iv]“Rabbi Schwartz of Blessed Memory”(Tabak).

 

[v]From a partial paper clipping about Rav Schwartz obtained from The Jewish Museum of Maryland. Unfortunately, the source of this article is not given. 

Share Button

About the Author: Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.


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.

No Responses to “Bringing Torah Education To Baltimore”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Putin-Obama Meme 1
Egypt Signing Unprecedented $3 Billion MiG-35 Deal with Russia
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Levine-Dr-Yitzchok-NEW

“Attuned to the ideal of establishing a new Zion in free America, they named their new colony Palestine.

Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.

There were very few Jewish farmers in Europe during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, in many parts of Europe Jews were forbidden to own land. Despite this there were some Jews who always felt they should return to the agrarian way of life their forefathers had pursued in ancient times, and that America was an ideal place to establish Jewish agricultural colonies.

The President having signed the Treaty of the Geneva Conference and the Senate having, on the 16th instant, ratified the President’s actions, the American Association of the Red Cross, organized under provisions of said treaty, purposes to send its agents at once among the sufferers by the recent floods, with a view to the ameliorating of their condition so far as can be done by human aid and the means at hand will permit. Contributions are urgently solicited.

Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.

There are many observant Jews who contributed much to secular and Jewish life in America and yet have, unfortunately, been essentially forgotten. One such man is Adolphus Simson Solomons (1826-1910).

Cholera was officially recognized to be of epidemic proportions in New York City on June 26, 1832. The epidemic was at its peak in July and 3,515 out of a population of about 250,000 died. (The equivalent death toll in today’s city of eight million would exceed 100,000.) Sadly, in 1832 there were no effective treatments available for those who contracted this disease.

As this is our third column on the Reverend Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, we’ll begin with a summary of his life.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/bringing-torah-education-to-baltimore/2008/10/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: