Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Yeshiva Torah VoDaas Through The Ages
(random pic, not connected to the article)
I was asked to write about YTV, and the ensuing splits and breakups, so I'll give it a shot. I welcome any and all corrections.
The truth is I'm not that familiar with all the details; There may too many to count, really. I'm sure some people were angry that the school opened in the first place; there was RJJ just across the bridge, on the Lower East Side, so why the need for another Yeshiva? "You think you're better than us, Mr. Wilhelm? Our school is not frum enough for you? Your boys can't cross the bridge like everybody else does? I can imagine the screaming going on somewhere in Williamsburg. But Mr. Wilhelm held his own and the school was opened. Then, when "Mr. Mendlowitz" came to town the school really picked up, although most kids still went on to eventually become Mechalelei Shabbos anyway. Such were the times. They started a high school, a mesivta if you will, and the first fruit were soon to be soon on the streets on Willy and the rest of New York. There were boys that became men, and they continued to practice as Jews, even while all their buddies left the fold. All thanks to the mesivta.
Then the first troubles began. It all began when a (Hungarian) lawyer named BenZion Weberman made an innocent-looking trip to the Kantrowitz Hotel in Woodridge, New York. That's where Jews would spend the hot, pre-air conditioning summer days, in one of the many Jewish-owned hotels in the "Borscht-Belt." When BZW announced that he had found a Rebbe, an old man with a long white beard, a Malach. BenZion had seemingly been looking for a Rebbe for himself and his kids, and had been disappointed with the slim pickings available in America. I'm not sure what kind of reception he got from the old man, since the old man didn't like clean-shaven men in modern clothes, but BZW didn't seem to be fazed by that, he still was very much intrigued by him, and wanted his kids to be educated by him as well. He soon found out that the old man is the Rabbi in a nusach Ari shul in the Bronx, and lives there as well, so he began to send his kids there, to be taught the holy texts by the holy man, and the change was soon visible in all of them. Soon, together with the change in dress came the change in theology, and that's where the first splinter happened.
More soon, iy"H.