Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin
Rabbi Yitschak RudominCourtesy

Third in a series about the rise of Jewish and Torah education in America after the Holocaust

Part One: The Difficult Progress of Jewish Education in America Before the Holocaust

Part Two: How a Handful of American Rabbis and Activists Tried To Save Jews During the Holocaust

The Shock of the Holocaust

The Second World War and the Holocaust, 1939-1945, signaled the end of a vast traditional Jewish culture located primarily in Eastern Europe. The death of six million Jews throughout Europe was a catastrophic fall for Jewry and Orthodox Judaism. The war also signaled the emergence of American Jewry as the largest single Jewish community in the world, and the rise of traditional-Orthodox-Judaism on a scale never before seen among the six million Jews of America.

The hallmark of American Jewry had been an unprecedented alienation from its traditional roots. This too was a great fall. After the war, a new phenomenon was evident. American Jewry was confronted with the example of Nazi Germany. The once most enlightened nation in Europe transformed itself into the "angel of death". Jewry was shocked. It had suffered a severe body-blow. But it was far from dead. It had survived. Hitler, the Nazis, and the Axis Powers were defeated. Those Jews who had been spared the brutalities, joined with those who had survived, to reassess their position in the world. The need to rise up again was urgent.

Historians have noted this sea change of attitude. The noted political scientist Raul Hilberg (1926–2007) in his classic work The Destruction of the European Jews (1961) states that for the Jews, the destruction process engendered both physical and psychic upheavals. It brought about a deep transformation in Jewish attitudes and thought. "There has been a complication of relations between Jewry and the outside world; a lasting estrangement has grown into the centuries-old relationship with Germany; and ancient bonds of trust and dependence have been broken within the Jewish community itself." Furthermore, notes Hilberg, the effect of the German destruction process on the position of Jewry within the Christian world has been twofold:

1. The Jews have been forced into a re-appraisal of the past.
2. They have developed apprehensions about the future.

Adding to the estrangement between Jewry and the world that surrounds it was the fact that throughout the war, the Jewish people adopted the Allied cause as their own, but the "Allied powers however, did not think of the Jews." Jews had "shut out" many thoughts of their disaster and helped achieve the final victory.

In spite of this loyalty, concludes Hilberg, the allied nations who were at war with Germany did not come to the aid of Germany's victims. "The Jews of Europe had no allies. In its gravest hour Jewry stood alone, and the realization of that desertion came as a shock to Jewish leaders all over the world."

Jewish leaders world-wide spoke of the Jews having been "abandoned, forgotten, left alone, betrayed." It was their "unverbalized" fear that the Allies had secretly approved of what the Germans had done and that "under given circumstances, they might even repeat the experiment."

The noted Jewish educator Judah Pilch (1902–1986), writing the chapter "From the Early Forties to the Mid-Sixties" in A History of Jewish Education in America (1969), mentions the war and its aftermath. Central to his essay is the observation that the "grave events" of the Second World War "stirred the masses of American Jews...Their special concern was to rehabilitate the survivors in Europe proper, to help those who found a haven in other parts of the globe and restore the remnants to the Jewish Homeland in Palestine...These were the times when they realized that systematic action was needed in addition to philanthropy to strengthen the morale of the American Jews through greater stress on Jewish cultural values."

Pilch then writes of "The Religious Revival" whereby "The Jewish Catastrophe in Europe, the spread of anti-Semitism, and the quest for an answer to the perplexities of the modern age prompted many American Jews to engage in an honest search for a meaning to their Jewishness." So much so, that Jews "whose tendency in the 1930's toward assimilation had estranged them from their people" now appeared to be ready to "join the fold" by joining either a synagogue or a "secular organization" which was engaged in the betterment of Jewish life world-wide.

The post-war years soon became the period of widespread "religious revival" Pilch states. But he is unsure whether this came into being because of greater faith and conviction, or, as a result of a "religious aura" which prevailed in the land during and after the war. His assessment is that "both Jews and non-Jews subscribed willingly to religious affirmation". Those that were referred to as the "lost generation" of Jews sought to re-establish some kind of relationship with the Jewish group for the sake of their children. "The need to bring up children in a Jewish milieu motivated most parents to join synagogues." In this "New Climate in the Jewish Community" there emerged a more earnest attempt to deal with the complex problem of Jewish education.

Pilch maintains that the most striking development in American Jewish education during the 1940s and 1950s was the steadily continuing upward trend in pupil enrollment within the total Jewish school population. Whereas in 1937 the total Jewish school population stood at 200,000, in 1948 it grew to 239,000, and by 1959 it stood at 553,600 based on the estimates of Dushkin and Engelman in Jewish Education in the U.S. (1959), as reported by Pilch.

However, these figures refer to children receiving “some sort” of Jewish education. Only an estimated 7.8% attended Jewish or Hebrew all-day schools. The rest belong to weekday and Sunday schools. Pilch admits that it is true that when measured by years of attendance needed for educational attainment, the schools remained on a "rather low level". And, that the situation in American Jewish education was summarized as being "like a river a mile wide and an inch deep."

On the other hand there were those Orthodox educators who strove to create that kind of Jewish education which was not merely "an inch deep." The successful establishment of schools and communities committed to the deepest forms of Jewish life and learning was a notable post-war achievement of Orthodoxy especially in the newly revitalized Haredi and Hasidic sectors after the Holocaust.

Whilst wending his way through various features of Jewish education in America after the war, Pilch only briefly deals with "The Expansion of the Day School". He devotes a paltry two paragraphs to "Talmudic Academies" when discussing "Higher Jewish Learning". This is a serious omission for an essay purporting to deal with the history of Jewish education in America during the modern era.

Pilch does observe that the 1940's marked the period of "phenomenal growth" of the Jewish day schools. He lists some basic factors contributing to this growth into the 1960s:

1. The influx of Orthodox Jews, from Poland and Hungary in the late 1930s.

2. The great Jewish tragedy of the Holocaust during the Hitler era, with its destruction of centers of Jewish learning in European lands, engendered a strong desire among Orthodox Jewish leaders in America to perpetuate the "Yeshivoth" which the Nazis destroyed.

3. The growth of parochial schools.

4.The impact of American-born rabbis.

5. The shift away from the "melting pot" idea.

6. The decline of the Talmud Torah.

Even though Pilch mentions the "shock received from the enormity of the Nazi Holocaust", he places it amongst a variety of other points. This detracts from gaining a deeper appreciation of the enormity of the "shock" and the extent and dimensions of the so-called “religious revival” which followed it.

One must recognize the nature and enormity of the destruction that gave forth such a shock to world Jewry. The barbarity of the attackers and the betrayal of supposed defenders was horrifying. In spite of the cruelties inflicted upon them, European Jewry remained, on the whole, true to the education that they had received as Jews. Jewish education in the form of Torah study runs like a golden thread through this period. It is the "unsung" factor that molded the Jew, accompanied him throughout the war, and presented itself as a beacon of hope once the war had ended.

The loyalty of many Jews to the Torah as war loomed, their reliance upon it as they faced death, and their clinging to it to survive is incredible. It is a big clue to understanding the tenacity and success of those who sought to elevate Torah study to its central position in Jewish life in modern America once the Holocaust ended. It lies at the heart of the rise of Orthodoxy and Haredi Judaism in America in the post World War Two era.

This rise found fertile ground in a Jewry shocked and disappointed by the world. The corporate soul of the Jewish people was awakened from a complacent drowse. Somehow, Jews were sensitized to the importance of strengthening Jewish life. Somehow, Orthodox Jewish education in America succeeded more after the war. Jews were justified in being disappointed with the world. The "shock" of destruction was enormous, it opened up new vistas of sympathy for traditional Jewish education.

One must give attention to the men of influence amongst the influx of Orthodox Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. The role of the "Talmudical Academies" or Yeshivas is crucial because they were the active nucleus, preserving Jewish education rooted in tradition. Jewish historians agree that "throughout the ages Jews have drawn strength and inspiration from the study of the Talmud. As the embodiment of the Oral Tradition, the Talmud was much more than a code of laws. It was considered the very life of Judaism" as stated by Dr. Brurua Hutner David in her work The Dual Role of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes: Traditionalist and Maskil (1971).

The Talmudical Academies in America, gave life to Jewish day schools and to Jewish communities in far-flung places. After the war, Talmudical Academies, known as yeshivas, flourished on an unprecedented scale causing a re-alignment of Orthodox Jewish life.

The Growth of Jewish Day Schools

The period 1940 to 1964 has been called the "Era of Great Expansion" in Jewish education in America by the Jewish educator and historian Alvin I. Schiff in "The Jewish Day School in America" (1966). When Europe was at the threshold of its darkest hour during the Second World War, America was about to witness a rapid increase of Jewish all-day schools after the war.

The broad term "Jewish day schools" (sometimes also referred to as "Hebrew day schools' or just plain "day schools') requires some clarification. It does not refer to the classical Talmudical yeshivas, even though many day schools also call themselves yeshivas, and to confuse matters, many yeshivas are also called day schools by some researchers! At the present time, Jewish day schools are most often identified with Modern Orthodox Judaism since Haredi and Hasidic yeshivas refer to their educational institutions as yeshivas (for boys) and Bais Yaakovs (for girls). Modern Orthodox Jewish day schools were mostly established away from the large Haredi communities. They are distinguished by having some that allow mixed co-education for boys and girls together, and by a great emphasis on secular studies with the goal of qualifying students to attend secular colleges, and a positive attitude to the State of Israel and Zionism in general. Jewish day schools reflect the outlooks of the far-flung Jewish Orthodox population all over North America outside of the main Haredi centers in the states of New York and New Jersey.

The Jewish educator Alvin Schiff (d. 2013) has noted that the year 1940 marked the beginning of the period of phenomenal growth for the Jewish day school movement. "Two hundred and seventy-one yeshivot, 91 percent of all existing day schools, were established after this date. In 1940, at the beginning of the Era of Great Expansion, there were thirty five yeshivot with an approximate enrollment of 7,700 pupils...By 1964 the enrollment grew to approximately 65,000 students in 306 schools and departments." William Helmreich in his work "The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of Orthodox Jewry" (1982) updated these figures to 613 schools catering to 100,150 students, including high school students, in 1978. Today it is much greater, particularly as including Haredi and Hasidic schools!

In 2020 the AviChai Foundation published the results of its research about the numbers of students in Jewish day schools (including the Haredi institutions) in America and found that "in the 2018–2019 school year, a total of 292,172 students were enrolled in Jewish elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. This represents an increase of 37,423 students (14.7%) in the five-year period since the most recent census in 2013–2014 and a 58.5% increase since 1998. Over the 20-year span, day school enrollment has grown by 107,839 students. This is an impressive rate of growth, yet the vast majority of it is attributable to increased enrollment in the Hasidic and Yeshiva World sectors, which currently comprise more than 65% of all day school enrollment. Other sectors, such as Community and Modern Orthodox, have experienced modest growth, while a number have shrunk, notably Solomon Schechter/Conservative and Reform [schools]."

Prior to the Second World War, Jewish immigrants relied primarily on the American public schools to provide a general education, which was viewed as an essential steppingstone and key for entry into American life, business and culture. Jewish education was provided in separate institutions, mainly in the afternoons and Sundays at what were called Talmud Torahs or hedorim. (Ed. note: In Israel, in contrast, Talmud Torah denotes an elementary school for boys which has mainly Torah study)The roles of the synagogues, temples, and the family as Jewish educators were weakened, and even neglected, when compared to the emphasis placed on secular education. At the higher education level, prior to 1939 there were few Jewish institutions that provided anywhere as intensive a program of Torah education as could be found in Europe.

Impact of the Public Schools

The public school curriculum, and the system as such, was too powerful an assimilationist force for the average Jewish child. The Talmud Torahs had the unenviable task of playing "second fiddle" to the public schools. The result was massive alienation from Jewish roots.

Norman Podhoretz in his autobiographical work "Making It" (1967) has described the workings of this process upon himself. He describes the immigrant Jewish milieu from which he derived as "having been driven by an uninhibited hunger for success". The first step towards success was to receive a broad public education. It was in high school that Podhoretz came under the tutelage of an English teacher, "Mrs. K.", who "was also famous for being an extremely good teacher". From the age of thirteen to sixteen Podhoretz was her "special pet", as an intense relationship developed between them:

"She flirted with me and flattered me, she scolded me and insulted me. Slum child, filthy little slum child, so beautiful a mind and so vulgar a personality, so exquisite in sensibility and so coarse in manner. What would she do with me, what would become of me if I persisted out of stubbornness and perversity in the disgusting ways they had taught me at home and on the streets."

Podhoretz writes that in retrospect, he is struck by "the astonishing rudeness of this woman to whom 'manners' were of such overriding concern". His assessment is that "good manners" meant only one thing to "Mrs. K.": "Conformity to a highly stylized set of surface habits and fashions which she took, quite as a matter of course, to be superior to all other styles of social behavior." The real purpose of this education was meant to achieve an acknowledgement of the superiority of "a better class of people". "I had to signify by my general deportment that I acknowledged them as superior to the class of people among whom I happened to have been born. That was the bargain--take it or leave it."

And what of Podhoretz's parents and home environment? They were immigrants from Eastern Europe who were raised in "fanatically Orthodox homes". His father, whilst "not especially observant himself...respected observance in others" and encouraged it in his son. He was a "Jewish survivalist, unclassified and eclectic...outraged by any species of Jewish assimilationism, whether overt or concealed." There was thus the inherent drive for self-preservation that sought to somehow accommodate itself to modern life in America:

"The point was to be a Jew, and the way to be a Jew was to get a Jewish education; never mind about definitions, ideologies, justifications. There were, to be sure, limits; he would not, for example, yield to his father-in-law's demand that I be sent to a yeshiva: had he cut off his own earlocks in order that his American son should grow a pair? And his son, make no mistake about it, was and would be an American. On the other hand, he was determined not to settle for the usual course of instruction leading to an ending with the bar mitzvah ceremony at the age of thirteen."

Thus the home that was committed to things Jewish and therefore ensured "Hebrew school" extra-curricular education, also relished that general education which would create an "American". For the average child this was, and has in many instances remained, an intolerable conflict of "interests". As Podhoretz writes: "I didn't mind going at first, but after a while I began to resent what more and more seemed a purposeless infringement on my freedom. Everyone else could fool around in the streets after school and on Sunday; why did I alone have to miss out on all the fun?" For a child this was a powerful question, and as the history of that age shows, Jewish education suffered. In the face of the types of "Mrs. K.'s" cultural offensive, parental vacillation about Jewish education, and the attractiveness of "fun" on the streets, Jewish "afternoon-schools" were doomed in the long run.

Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz and Torah Umesorah

Given that predicament, and following in the aftermath of the Second World War, new impetus was given to revise prevailing attitudes towards Jewish education. Men such as Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz (1886–1948) who was a "visionary, teacher and leader, who single-handedly revolutionized American Orthodox Jewish life through the establishment of Jewish day schools, Jewish high schools, Torah day camps and postgraduate yeshiva studies throughout the United States...In 1922, he joined the staff of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. Shortly thereafter he was appointed principal and was instrumental in its development from a small institution of 20 students to a world-renowned yeshiva with over 2,000 pupils. Rabbi Mendlowitz made a strong impression on both students and colleagues alike due to his vast knowledge and his unique personality...Perhaps his most remarkable achievement was the establishment of Torah Umesorah, (in 1944), an organization whose goal was the establishment of Jewish day schools in every American city or town with over 500 Jewish families." (Destiny)

As a leading figure in the yeshiva of Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, Rabbi Mendlowitz founded Torah Umesorah during the war years. This "National Society for Hebrew Day Schools" was dedicated to the aim of establishing a Jewish day school in every town and location that had a Jewish community. As Rabbi Mendlowitz had envisaged, the curricula of a lot of Jewish day schools were ideally meant to imitate those of the traditional yeshivas. In reality however, this was not as simple as it may have sounded, for the cultural forces described by Podhoretz were still predominant.

Thus, even though Jewish day schools grew and even flourished all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico, to over 600 schools with over 100,000 full-time students by the end of the twentieth century--each was unique. Many of these schools named themselves, "Yeshiva", or "Mesivta", or "Jewish", or "Hebrew", but very fundamentally the Jewish curriculum varied from school to school. In many cases, the Torah and Jewish studies curriculum was very far removed in both content and intensity from that of the traditional yeshiva. It is ironical that whilst the elementary and high school divisions of traditional yeshivas fall under the broad label of "day schools" they are vastly different to the usual day schools found in America's Jewish communities.

The Jewish day school movement has been curtly analyzed by the noted Jewish sociologist William Helmreich in his important book The World of the Yeshiva (1982), precisely because the average Jewish day school is greatly different from the traditional yeshiva. Helmreich states: "Only a minority of children in the day schools are observant (just how many is not known) or continue in religious high schools, and an even smaller number go on to advanced yeshivas." Calling the high-school division of the traditional yeshiva "mesivta", he concludes that "it is the day school and the mesivta that provide the basic education for almost all of those who study at the beis medrash level."

The beis medrash refers to the post-high school division of the traditional yeshiva. He adds that there has always been a good deal of "crossing over" between schools characterized as "modern" and those that are "traditional": "Parents may find a particular emphasis not to their liking at the elementary school level and compensate for it by sending their children to a different type of high school." There is thus a fundamental difference in types of Jewish day schools. Those Jewish day schools that seek to emulate the traditional yeshivas differ greatly from more "modern" Jewish day schools.

Several writers have noted that it was the advanced yeshivas that played a crucial role in the development of the day school movement. As stated by Helmreich:

"It was their leaders who anticipated both the need for and the importance of such education to provide a steady stream of students to the higher schools. The National Society for Hebrew Day Schools (Torah Umesorah), which is involved in almost every aspect of day school education, is staffed primarily by graduates of advanced yeshivas, and is strongly influenced by a board of rosh yeshivas with respect to policy matters."

It was during the height of the European catastrophe that the push for Jewish day schools began in earnest. In 1941, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz fulfilled a long sought dream: He established a school called Esh Das ("Fire [of] Faith") which would be dedicated to the development of a type of Torah worker who would make the self-sacrifice of exclusive devotion to the perpetuation of serious Torah education in America. Rabbi Mendlowitz chose a select group of students to spearhead this movement. They were to play a key role in fulfilling another of his ideals: the establishment of Hebrew day schools throughout America. The operation began in earnest in June 1944, when "at a conference of leading religious and lay leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, was born."

Samuel C. Feuerstein, a lay leader of Torah Umesorah wrote in "Torah Umesorah 1944-1969: A Quarter of a Century" of Rabbi Mendlowitz's vision and "blueprint" for a "national agency" of Jewish education:

"The war in Europe was over. The allies were victorious...Our defeat was written large in the smokestacks of the crematoria and in the devastated Torah centers of a European community...which for a thousand years gave us scholars, saints, and sages...And now that link...was in the balance...Reb Feivel Mendlowitz...took this vision and planted it in the soil of the practical dimensions of the American community."

Through Torah Umesorah, Rabbi Mendlowitz ensured a link between the larger traditional yeshivas, and the various Jewish day schools which were springing up. There was thus also a link between what was lost in Eastern Europe and the new educational institutions founded in America. This linkage took on greater proportions with the arrival of men such as Rabbi Aharon Kotler (1892–1962).

Rabbi Kotler exerted direct influence on all major developments of Torah Umesorah and on its founder. During a war-time encounter between the two men, Rabbi Kotler is reported to have convinced Rabbi Mendlowitz that "in view of the on-going annihilation of European Jewry, he should reorder his priorities. Hitler was destroying Torah centers of Europe and systematically wiping out their leaders in the process...it was time for America to seriously plan on producing its own outstanding scholars to create in America and to maintain for the entire world the highest possible levels of Torah scholarship."(The Jewish Observer, 1979) The Jewish day schools were only the means to such an end.

Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky and the spread of Jewish Day Schools

To his everlasting credit Rav Mendlowitz appointed talented people to carry out and fulfill his dream of setting up Jewish day schools all over North America. In particular is the appointment of Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky (1911–1999) as the pioneering first full time executive director of Torah Umesorah. In the Wikipedia biography about Dr. "Joe" Kaminetsky it is reported that:

"He was directly responsible for the establishment of hundreds of yeshiva day schools across the United States outside of the New York Metropolitan Area...After receiving his doctorate in education from Columbia Teachers College, he became the executive director of Manhattan Day School. It was at this post that he was tapped to be a leader at Torah Umesorah. He served as educational director for two years before rising to director of the entire organization, replacing Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz upon the latter's death in 1948. Kaminetsky was seen as a true visionary by the leaders of the American Jewish community....For the next 35 years, Kaminetsky traveled throughout the United States with a mission to establish a Jewish day school in every town and city across America with a Jewish population of at least 5,000."

There was a national climate that made such goals seem possible. Marshall Sklare in "America's Jews" (1971) asks how can the rise of the Jewish day school be explained? He replies that one significant influence is the character of the Jewish immigrants who came to America as a result of World War II. The Orthodox Jews who came to America did so out of necessity rather than choice:

"In fact, their version of the American dream was that they should have the freedom to reestablish the way of life they had enjoyed before the Holocaust. Thus without hesitation they proceeded to organize their own schools--schools that would give primacy to Jewish culture and shield their children and others from the influence of the secularism of the public schools."

In addition to this, adds Sklare, there was widespread disillusionment with the results of part-time and limited "Hebrew School education", the Talmud Torahs and hedorim, on the part of "moderate and centrist Orthodox elements, as well as some traditionally minded adherents of Conservative Judaism."

Alvin Schiff in "The Jewish Day School in America" (1966) confirms this view, providing a brief summary of the reasons for the growth of the Jewish day schools:
1. Pioneer efforts of earlier institutions.
2. Inspired Orthodox leaders who were devoted to the ideals of intensive Jewish education.
3. The changing.international Jewish scene, particularly the destruction of the European Jewish community, and the establishment of the State of Israel.
4. The changing American Jewish scene, namely the nature of post-World War II immigration and the rise of native American yeshiva exponents. There was also the deterioration of supplementary Jewish education as provided by the communal Talmud Torahs and the afternoon Hebrew schools.
5. Changes in the general community with a wartime and postwar upsurge in religious sentiment, and prosperity. However, conditions in the public schools worsened with the increase of "blackboard jungle" conditions.
6. There were special features, such as the prestige of private schooling and the advantages for working mothers of the all-day school.
7. Organized promotion by Torah Umesorah, the National Council for Torah Education of the Mizrachi (Religious Zionists), the Lubavitchers, and others.
8. Encouragement from Jewish leaders; amongst the lay and even non-religious Jewish personalities.
9. Good timing and motivation, which meant that underlying the individual factors that encouraged the expansion was the unique combination of the right circumstances: "The need for intensive Jewish schools, the readiness of many sectors of the Jewish community to accept and support the day school idea, the proper timing of the pioneer efforts, the continuing external forces catalyzing the development, and the stubborn zealousness of Jewish Day School leaders."

Leadership of the Roshei Yeshiva

No historical phenomenon can be attributed to one factor. There are always a number of factors at work on various levels and in various dimensions. The establishment and growth of Jewish day schools in America has been no exception. The factors which contributed to growth were also the ingredients of complexity and conflict within the Jewish day school program. Nevertheless the pioneers of building Jewish day schools all over America persevered.

An example is Rabbi Reuvain Grozovsky (1886–1958) who was the son-in-law of the famous Rabbi Boruch Ber Leibowitz (1862–1939). They had visited America in 1929 to collect funds for their yeshiva in Europe. It was a difficult mission, and the challenge of American life was not an unknown factor to Rabbi Grozovsky when he came to America in 1941. Following the outbreak of the war Rabbi Grozovsky eluded both Nazi and communist forces, following the trusted route across the Pacific to raise funds and secure affidavits for his students trapped in Europe.

Rabbi Grozovsky landed in Seattle, Washington on May 2, 1941, and proceeded quickly to New York, joining Rabbi Aharon Kotler (1892–1962) and Rabbi Avrohom Kalmanowitz (1887–1964) of the Mirrer Yeshiva in rescue work through the Vaad Hatzolah (Rescue Committee). Nisson Wolpin in "The Torah World" reports that it was an ongoing struggle which involved fundraising, lobbying, and clandestine transferring of funds. In addition, Rabbi Grozovsky managed to save some 110 members of the Kamenitz Yeshiva community. At Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, from 1944 onwards, "a new generation of Torah scholars became exposed to his shiurim (lectures)." He infused the yeshiva with great life and enthusiasm. At the height of the war Torah education was witnessing renewal in far-off America

The influence of Rabbi Grozovsky extended beyond the yeshiva he headed. He was at the helm of the American Council of Torah Sages of the Agudath Israel, and chairman of Torah Umesorah's Rabbinical Advisory Council. The efforts to renew Orthodox life in New York extended outwards, towards for example, the establishment of Jewish day schools. At a founding ceremony of such a school in Providence, Rhode Island, he stated:

"What role does a Rosh Yeshiva [Yeshiva Dean] have at the establishment of a kindergarten? Doesn't he have other things on his mind? But that isn't the case. There's a longstanding rule in the Torah, that saving lives assumes a higher priority over everything else. Without Torah study, the children of this community are being buried alive...Thus, the item of foremost priority on my agenda is to be here and ascertain that these children will indeed live." (The Torah World)

Torah educators already in America before the Second World War, joined together with newly arrived rabbinic personalities who came during and after the Holocaust to create hundreds of new Jewish day schools for American-born Jewish boys and girls as well as nurturing a cadre of Jewish and Torah educators and lay leaders who financially supported such growth, all of whom would in turn transform the face of Orthodox Jewish life and Jewish education in America in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin was born to Holocaust survivor parents in Israel, grew up in South Africa, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin and of Teachers CollegeColumbia University. He heads the Jewish Professionals Institute dedicated to Jewish Adult Education and Outreach Kiruv Rechokim. He was the Director of the Belzer Chasidim's Sinai Heritage Center of Manhattan 19881995, a Trustee of AJOP 19941997 and founder of American Friends of South African Jewish Education 19952015. He is also a docent and tour guide at The Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Downtown Manhattan, New York.

He is the author of The Second World War and Jewish Education in America: The Fall and Rise of Orthodoxy.Contact Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin at[email protected]