References Collected From the Web

Jewish “Nobelity”
The life and loves of a Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Robert Aumann
by Sara Yoheved Rigler

… Yisrael Aumann was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in 1930 in Germany. In 1938, the Aumanns escaped to the United States, where Yisrael studied in a yeshiva day school. He credits his math teacher there, Joseph Gansler, with first sparking his interest in mathematics.

“On the Jewish side,” declared Prof. Aumann in an interview*, “the high school teacher who influenced me most was Rabbi Shmuel Warshavchik… He attracted me to the beauty of Talmudic study and the beauty of religious observance. Warshavchik’s enthusiasm and intensity — the fire in his eyes — lit a fire in me also.” …


Going to Vancouver
In an excerpt from ‘Meant To Be,’ the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance remembers growing up on the Lower East Side
By Marvin Hier August 18, 2016

Rav Shumel Dovid Warshavchik recalled the last time his Rebbe, Reb Elchonon Wasserman, head of the Novardok Yeshiva, one of the world’s largest yeshivas, was in the United States. With tears in his eyes, he recounted how Reb Elchonon’s loyalty to his students cost him his life: “The Rebbe was here in New York in March of 1939, raising money for his yeshiva, when the war broke out. Many pleaded with him to stay in America and to send for his two children. But Reb Elchonon dismissed them, ‘I have four hundred children in my yeshiva. How can I leave them behind? I am a soldier, and a good soldier must go to the front.’ Reb Elchonon returned to his yeshiva, and was murdered by the Nazis two years later.” …

… One spring day, when we needed a break from our studies, a few friends and I decided to head south for an afternoon at the Asbury Park Amusement Center. When I managed to pop three balloons in a darts contest, I was presented with a five-foot-tall stuffed polar bear. Eager to show off the oversized prize to my sisters, I boarded a bus (paying an additional fare for the bear) then a train to Delancey Street rather than East Broadway in order to avoid the yeshiva, whose rabbis would surely frown upon my having played hooky to indulge in secular pleasures. The train pulled into the Delancey Street station, the doors opened, and I cautiously stepped onto the platform, my vision impaired by the life-size bear in front of me. As I craned my neck around the bear’s rounded ear, who should be directly facing me, but my Rebbe, Rav Warshavchik. He took one look at the bear, then at me behind it, and said with an affectionate grin, “So Moishe. This must be your chavrusa, Reb Dov Ber. One thing I can promise you, he is going to get smicha (rabbinic ordination) a lot sooner than you will!” …


The next day, Adele introduced me to Marlene, known affectionately as Mande, and her parents, Hanna and Harry Levine. As advertised, she was intelligent and attractive. We had many complementary traits: she liked to laugh, and I liked to tell stories; she loved cookies and I was in a unique position to supply them. We saw each other many times that summer, and when the season sadly drew to a close, she extended the pleasure it had brought by accepting my offer of a date when we returned to the city.

Once back at the yeshiva, however, I realized I was in a predicament. In those days, no young woman would consider seriously dating a young man who had no idea how he was going to support a family. I continued on in my studies, indefinitely postponing a date with Malkie, although we spoke often on the phone.

Then, one December day, Rabbi Bernard Goldenberg, the senior rabbi of Congregation Schara Tzedeck in Vancouver, Canada visited my yeshiva to seek recommendations for filling the position of Assistant Rabbi. I typically spent my days studying with other rabbinical students in the Agudas Anshe Maimed Shul. But that day, when we discovered that the shul’s heater was broken, we relocated to the main yeshiva building. Much to my surprise, and perhaps only because I was seated nearby, Rav Warshavchik called me over to introduce me to Rabbi Goldenberg. We spent the afternoon discussing the Vancouver position, and by the end of the day, Rabbi Goldenberg made me an offer. The Yiddish words my beloved grandmother, Freidel, regularly repeated to me rang in my ears: “Alles in leben iz barshert” (Everything in life is meant to be).

Excited and emboldened by my new job offer, I made arrangements to take Malkie on our first formal date. Our dinner at Manhattan’s famous Lou G. Siegel’s restaurant was memorable, both because Malkie was impressed that Rabbi Goldenberg had offered me the position from a large pool of qualified candidates, and because I didn’t bring enough money to pay the bill. I had done the math while savoring the delicious flanken, and realized I was about to come up short. Embarrassed and desperate, I scanned the restaurant for someone from whom I might borrow money, stalled by telling Malkie every story I knew, and prayed for a miracle. When the waiter presented me with the bill, Malkie unexpectedly came to the rescue. “Will twenty dollars do it?” she asked. My granddaughter, Rachel, would later tell me that that moment marked the beginning of my fundraising career.

A few months later, I was ordained as a rabbi, and asked Malkie to marry me. I used the money I had saved from the aravos business to buy her an engagement ring. We were married on September 8, 1962 at the Riverside Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. We celebrated with our parents, Malkie’s grandmother, Kayla, and my grandmother, Freidel, all of whom had sacrificed so much for us. I danced with Rav Yankele Flantzgraben, Rav Yitzchok Tendler, Rav Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik, Rav Mendel Kravitz and the other rabbis with whom I had studied, and my friends, Dovid Greenwald, Heshie Weinreb, Shobsie Knobel, Leibeish Topp, Yakov Goldberg, Alan Press, Sheppie Borgen, Shimshon Bienenfeld, Fishel Hochbaum, Dr. Jerry Hochbaum, Max Kaminetzki, and Harvey Hoenig with whom I spent my unforgettable formative years. …


Responsibility –
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz – Dec 10, 2014.

Rav Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik zt”l would often talk to his talmidim at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) about his own rebbi, Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l. He would tell them how his rebbi had been in America in 1938 when the fate of European Jewry was all but sealed. It was widely assumed that Rav Elchonon would remain on the safe shores, but the rosh yeshiva insisted on returning to his talmidim.

Rav Elchonon explained that a rebbi and talmidim belong together, and leaving his talmidim alone in dangerous times would be compromising his essence as their rebbi. Rav Elchonon knew there was a good chance that he wouldn”t survive, and he was certainly aware of the halachos regarding shemiras hanefesh. However, he understood that it is not up to man to make calculations. Man is to follow the Torah. Once he concluded that his own achrayus was to return to his talmidim, he traveled with menuchas hanefesh and tranquility, ultimately giving up his life with incredible dignity. …


The School That Set The Standard For Jewish Education In 20th-Century America
By Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum – 8 Av 5776 – August 11, 2016

… What was also very special about RJJ is that it maintained a balanced dual secular program, led for many years by Herman Winter, a faculty member at Stuyvesant High School, one of America’s top secondary public schools. The graduates of RJJ’s high school were, as a result, well fortified to pursue excellent professional careers in the Jewish and secular worlds.

One of the best examples is Robert (Yisrael) Aumann – Nobel laureate, professor at Hebrew University, and outstanding talmid chacham. During the ceremony and dinner at which he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he publicly acknowledged his teachers at RJJ, including Joseph Ganzler, his teacher of mathematics, and Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik, his rosh yeshiva. All the guests that night were served the same kosher dinner enjoyed by Professor Aumann.

It was quite a Kiddush Hashem on the part of Dr. Aumann and the school he credited for his success. …

Rabbi Binyomin Adler’s Blog –
Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik, a student of Rabbi Boruch Ber Levovitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of Kamenitz, related the following story, which demonstrates fear of Heaven. During the First World War, Rabbi Baruch moved from city to city, and at times he was even in danger of losing his life. After the war, he returned to Vilna.

A few years later, his students saw that a tremendous fear came upon him and his whole being was trembling. When they asked him what had happened and what he was so worried about, Rabbi Baruch Ber told them the following story:

“Today I found amongst my holy books, one with the sign of the shul of Kramentzuk. This city lies on the other side of the border of Russia, and after the war it is not possible to reach it.”
Rabbi Baruch Ber was there during his wanderings. It seems that the book was with his own books when he was in that shul, and without realizing it, he must have taken it with him.
Rabbi Baruch Ber continued: “As we continued on our travels during the war, we arrived in the city of Minsk, and there I joined a rabbinical court of the rabbi of the city, Rabbi Eliezer Rabinowitz, in order to organize a Get (divorce). Now, there is an opinion that if the judges are not honest, this can affect the legitimacy of the Get. Now that I realize that I have sinned in stealing the book, therefore, the Get is not valid and the woman is still married. This is a terrible situation!”

His students tried to convince him that according to Jewish law he was not considered a thief, and also that this sin did not disqualify a man from being a judge for a Get. But Rabbi Baruch Ber, with his pure fear of Heaven, was not convinced.

Suddenly he remembered that on the way from Kramentzuk to Minsk, a band of marauders had suddenly attacked him and he was one step away from death. He remembered the Viduy (confession) that he’d confessed in those moments — in that confession he had repented of all his deeds. Since he had repented in truth, and the changed borders of the lands made it impossible for him to return the book to Russia, he was cleared from the category of an evildoer and consequently the Get was valid. Only after Rabbi Baruch Ber remembered that Viduy did he relax. (