Wishing bracha and hatzlacha to our Rosh HaYeshiva


Rosh Pic resized cropped 2After nearly 40 years of service to Hebrew Theological College/Bais HaMidrash LaTorah and Fasman Yeshiva High School, Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Avraham Friedman has announced his retirement as Rosh HaYeshiva, and transitioned into the role of Rosh HaYeshiva Emeritus at the conclusion of the recent summer zman. A search committee to identify his successor is in formation.

Though he has decided to step down from his full-time role at HTC, Rabbi Friedman’s fire for teaching Torah will continue unabated. He will continue to be involved in community learning and initiatives, teaching shiurim to Fasman Yeshiva and Beis Midrash students at HTC and writing chidushei Torah. In that sense, it is not so much an ending, as a new beginning.

“Our Rosh HaYeshiva, my Rebbe, is truly one of a kind,” said HTC CEO Rabbi Shmuel Schuman. “He came back to his roots at HTC and devoted his life to building up our talmidim and our Yeshiva overall. It’s rare to find a talmid chacham of his stature who is also so full of simcha and exudes such great passion for Torah; this has enabled him to forge extremely close relationships with his talmidim and avreichim. We congratulate him on nearly four decades of outstanding Torah leadership.”

Rabbi Friedman, whose wife, Tamar, also recently retired from her leadership role at Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, leaves behind a vast legacy and extensive resume at HTC. He followed in his father’s footsteps and first came to the Yeshiva as a young student in 1963, and would eventually study under HaRav Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe zt”l, who would become his rebbe muvhak. He subsequently studied in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and then in kollels in Eretz Yisrael, and eventually taught in Boston, Los Angeles, and Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh in Israel, before returning to “Skokie Yeshiva,” where he first taught shiur in the high school, and then the Beis Midrash. He also served as Mashgiach Ruchani and eventually assumed the role of Rosh HaYeshiva.

“This Yeshiva, in many senses, is my home,” said Rabbi Friedman. “I started here as a young talmid, and so much of the Torah that I have shared was learned inside the walls of this Beis Midrash. Knowing that I can continue to learn and teach here, and continue to spread Torah in our community, made the decision to retire from my formal position much easier.”

It’s no small aspect of Rabbi Friedman’s legacy that he joined some of his own great rabbeim who held the chair of Rosh HaYeshiva at Beis HaMidrash LaTorah, including HaRav Chaim Korb, HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, and HaRav Aharon Soloveichik, zichronam livracha.

“It was humbling to sit in the chair so many gedolim had occupied before me,” said Rabbi Friedman. “Over the last four decades, I strived to imbue our talmidim and our Yeshiva with a great passion for learning, and to inspire our talmidim to grow in Torah, chesed and yiras shamayim. I look forward to continuing that even in retirement, and I will continue to do everything I can to help the Yeshiva grow and succeed.”

Rabbi Friedman has published a number of sefarim and kuntresim, including recent tributes to his father, Joseph Friedman, z”l, and to many of his great Rabbeim, both in Chicago and in Eretz Yisrael. In retirement, he said, he will enjoy more time to write, learn, and travel, and spend time with his expansive family and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“Our Rosh HaYeshiva’s passion for learning was contagious,” said HTC Co-Chairman Rabbi Shabsai Wolfe. “He brought a tremendous simchas haChayim and love of Torah to our beis midrash, that spread to everyone around him. We’re incredibly grateful for everything he’s given to our Yeshiva, and we wish him and his eishes chayil, Tamar, the greatest health and happiness as they enter this next chapter.”