Tuesday, January 8, 2008


[begin ap article]

Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum, a Talmudic scholar who led a yeshiva in Brooklyn for more than 50 years after fleeing Nazi-occupied Poland and briefly taking refuge in Shanghai, has died. He was 87.

Berenbaum died Sunday after a long struggle with cancer, said Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, executive director of the 1,200-member Mir Yeshiva.…

Berenbaum was born in Poland and studied in a yeshiva in the town of Mir before World War II.

As the Nazis rolled across Eastern Europe, Berenbaum and other yeshiva students fled across the Soviet Union and resettled in Shanghai, China. From there, they eventually emigrated to the United States.

Steven Bayme, national director of contemporary Jewish life at the American Jewish Congress, said the yeshiva helped preserve "a world that was otherwise lost."

"The rescue of the institution during the Holocaust by going to Shanghai was an act of incredible daring. It took enormous courage and perseverance," Bayme said.

Leadership of the Brooklyn yeshiva will pass to Berenbaum's nephew, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz.

[end ap article]

In the Failed Messiah blog,

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/rabbi_slifkin_book_ban/index.html and on http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2008/01/baruch-dayan-ha.html, it is noted that Berenbum took part in banning Rabbi Nosson Slifkin's book, nazi-like behavior intended to stifle criticism and alternative views. As someone who had to flee from nazis, the talmudic scholar Berenbum should have known that book banning is bad. Also, it is bad for Orthodox Judaism for them to give the appearance that Orthodox Judaism can only survive if there is censorship of the outside world.

Slifkin holds that the scientific material in the Talmud is not as authoritative as its halachic material, whereas the ultraorthodox view the Talmud as infallible.


Garnel Ironheart said...

Having met Rav Sliffkin, I can assure you that the situation regarding the ban is not as simple as it seems. Most of the signatories didn't even know about the issue but simply signed a piece of paper when they were told "There's an apikorus out there we want to put in cherem".

Now, you can raise a valid point: why would he sign such an important thing without checking it out? There I think we would agree that a huge problem exists.

Anonymous said...

To garnel:

Yet nothing you said justifies sj's comparing this rabbi to the Nazis. sj's hateful immaturity seemingly knows no bounds. Then again, puberty hits some of us pretty hard. Hopefully he'll make it through ok someday.