Sunday, August 26, 2012

A History of Learning Honored at Mayanot

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Mayanot Yeshiva was proud to welcome Rabbi Yaakov and Bailah Greenbaum, as well as their grandson Levi Yitzchak, to their campus today. When the Mayanot Women’s Program was established four years ago, Rabbi Yaakov initiated contact with Rabbi Shloime Gestetner, Dean of Mayanot and Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, the Executive Director. He wanted to donate a Torah library to the new Mayanot Women’s Program in loving memory of his parents, Reb Shmuel and Rachel Greenbaum. This gesture was extremely kind and generous given the new beginnings of Mayanot. It was just what the Yeshiva needed.

Rabbi Yaakov’s parents were true Torah scholars. His mother Rachel was one of the first students at the famed Beis Yaakov, a seminary in Krakow. It was established in 1917 by Sarah Schenirer, the renowned pioneer of Jewish education for women. His father, Reb Shmuel, studied at the famous Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, which was headed by the acclaimed Rabbi Meir Shapiro (who established the Daf Yomi program to study one page of Talmud a day, completing it in seven and a half years), in the city of Lublin. It makes sense, then, to have dedicated a Torah library to their memory.

After surviving the Holocaust, his parents moved to Australia. There, Reb Shmuel became a pillar of the Yeshiva community in Sydney. He taught many classes in Gemorah and was instrumental in educating many of the youth; many of whom were future Rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community. Rabbi Greenbaum noted that his mother Rachel would have been thrilled and touched to see so many young Jewish women coming to Eretz Yisrael to study Torah at the Mayanot Women’s Program. Her tremendous love of books and learning is reflected in her son’s dedication to education.

Reb Yaakov’s parents influence can clearly be seen in his generosity and his commitment to Jewish learning. Mayanot is indebted to Rabbi Yaakov and Bailah for their wonderful donation of the Torah library. The excited buzz of learning that resonates through the Beit Midrash and library of the Women’s Program is certainly the most fitting ‘memorial’, and a great merit for the neshamot of the esteemed Reb Shmuel and Rachel o”h.