Josh Zisook

Josh Zisook

Rabbi Dr. Yosef Babad

BabadRabbi Dr. Yosef Babad was born in 1905 in Lubachov, Poland.  He was the scion of a rabbinic family tracing lineage to the 11th century and a direct descendant of the famed author of the Minchas Chinuch, his namesake.  Rabbi Babad received a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1933, and smicha from the Rabbinical Seminary of Vienna in 1934.  He served as a district rabbi of the Carinthian Jewish community of Klagenfort, in the Austrian Alps.  He joined the Yeshiva in 1944, serving first as a professor of Bible and Hebrew literature, and subsequently as dean of students and graduate school dean for more than three decades.  His genial nature and student advocacy earned him the deep respect and admiration of students and colleagues alike.  He retired in 1984, and was niftar on 27 Av 5757 in Yerushalaim.

Rabbi Nachman Barr

BarrRabbi Barr was born in Wolkowik (southeast Poland).  He learned in the Mirrer Yeshiva and in Minsk, and was considered amongst its top talmidim.  In 1919 he left Europe settling in St. Paul Minnesota, where he taught at a talmud Torah that was run by several prestigious rabbanim.  When the administration of Bais HaMidrash L'Torah took notice of the caliber of the talmidim coming from St. Paul, they offered him a position in the Yeshiva, where he taught from 1925 until 1947.  In addition to teaching at the yeshiva, he gave gemorra classes for adults in Adas B'nei Yisroel without remuneration.  R. Chaim Zimmerman said of Rabbi Barr, "He was the best ba'al masbir in the Yeshiva".

Rabbi Avrahom Yitzchok Cordon

DSC 3801Rabbi Cordon was one of the leaders of Chicago Rabbinate and was one of the Yeshiva's founders.  Born in Minsk, he learned in Yeshivas Navardok. Later, he served as the rav in Cong Machzikai Hadas of London. Upon his arrival in America he served as Rav to Congregation Shaarei Torah (Sawyer Ave Shul) in Chicago for 33 years until his petira in 1945.

Rabbi Eliezer Y. Gottleib

GOTtLEIBRabbi Gottlieb was born in Kolno, Poland.  His first rebbe was his father, Reb Hirsch Leib, the famed Kolner Rosh Yeshiva.  At the age of fourteen, his father send him to the Yeshiva of Baranovitz, where he learned for four years continuously with Reb Elchanon Wasserman. From there he advanced to the yeshiva of Kletzk under the leadership Reb Ahron Kotler, from whom he received smicha. During the war he managed to escape Poland to Lithuania, and from Lithuania to Japan in 1941. After six months in Japan he was one of the few selected rabbinical students to be granted a Canadian visa obtained by the Vaad Hatzalah through the Polish government in exile.   While in Canada, he helped organize the Yeshiva Mercaz Hatorah.  In 1946 he visited Chicago and was immediately invited to joint the faculty of Bais HaMidrash L'Torah, where he taught until his retirement.

Rabbi Yaakov Greenberg

GreenbergRabbi Greenberg studied under the Gaonim David Karliner, Chaim Brisker, Elya Pruziner, and Zalman Sender Maltscher. He studied electrical and mechanical engineering in the famous polytechnic in Saxony, Germany. He came to Chicago in 1905, working for Western Electric and the Edison Company. He found it necessary to leave because the companies refused him allowance to leave for Shabbos. As the dean of Beis HaMidrash L'Torah, Rabbi Greenberg supervised all educational activities and was in charge of both students and faculty.  He was niftar in 1949.

Rabbi Moshe Hershler

HERSHLERRabbi Hershler was the Rosh HaYeshiva from 1976-1979. He continued his affiliation with Bais HaMidrash L'Torah until his petirah in 1991, teaching graduate courses in the summer. He was a talmid of the famous Eitz Chaim Yeshiva in Yerushalaim. He authored over a hundred scholarly articles and edited numerous seforim adding reference footnotes and scholarly insights in recent editions of sifrei rishonim (Ramban, Meiri and others). He was an expert in Medical Halacha as well and the editor of a four volume work refuah b' halacha.

Rabbi Dovid Kaganoff

kaganoffRav Kaganoff was a talmid of both the Yeshivos of Navardok and Slobodka. He received smicha from Rav Issur Zalman Meltzer, Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, Rav Baruch Ber Lebowitz and others. Rabbi Kaganoff gave the smicha shiur in the Yeshiva and was known to be a very tough bochen.

Rabbi Hirsch Isenberg

ISENBERGRabbi Hirsch Isenberg was born in Cracow, Poland in 5672-1911. At the age of 19 he received Semicha from Rabbi Yaakov Stern. During World War II he traveled with the Mirrer Yeshiva, spending six years in Shanghai, China. After the war, he served as executive director of Hapoel HaMizrachi in Chicago. In 1947 he taught Gemara in the Chicago Jewish Academy for a year. With an influx of תלמידי חכמים after the war, he was asked to teach תנ"ך and עברית. He also taught in the HTC's Teachers Institute for Women and joined the staff at the Yeshiva in 1960 specializing in עברית. His insights into תנ"ך and languages were unparalleled. Both before and after classes he made himself available to תלמידים as a שואל ומשיב in all matters קודש וחול. After nearly 50 years of active teaching, during which time he missed no more than two weeks of class, he retired in 1995. He then completed the study of תלמוד בבלי and started תלמוד ירושלמי until his פטירה in 1999.

Rabbi Herzel Kaplan

Kaplan hRabbi Herzel Kaplan was born in 1900 in Baranovitz He studied in Slobodka and in Jerusalem and received smicha from Rav Avraham Y. Kook and Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein in 1925. Rabbi Kaplan was an educator par excellence admired by all for his Yedias Hatorah and was reknown for his warmth and excellent middos.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan

Kaplan mReb Mendel was born in Baranovitz in 1913 and was a talmid of Reb Elchanan Wasserman.  Reb Elchanan, recognizing his potential assigned him to his son, Naftali as a chavrusa.  Later he contiued his studies at the Mir Yeshiva.  During World War II, he escaped with the Mirrer Yeshiva to Kobe and then Shanghai.  After the war he moved to Chicago and was accepted as a rebbe in the Yeshiva.  An amazing rebbe, he excelled at teaching mussar and hashkafa along with the talmud, and was highly innovative in his teaching style.  He moved to the east in 1965 where he taught at the Yeshiva  of Philadelphia until his passing in 1985.

Rabbi Chaim Korb

KorbBorn in 1872, Rabbi Korb learned in Yeshivas Telz and received Smicha from Rabbi Eliezer Telzer. After the untimely petira of Rabbi Yablonsky in 1928, he was chosen to become the Rosh Hayeshiva of Beis HaMidrash L’Torah.  Rabbi Korb was a gaon in Torah. When he was young, he excelled in his learning and was close to Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (the Ohr Sameach), the Rav Yosef Rosen (the Rogachover gaon), and he learned for 14 years with Rav Itzel of Ponovitch. Rabbi Korb authored נתיבת חיים on סוגיות הש"ס and טל שחקים on drash. He served as Rosh Yeshiva until 1948 when he moved to Eretz Yisroel.

Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth

KREISWIRTHRabbi Chaim Kreiswirth was born in Wojnicz, Poland in 1918. In his youth, he was well-known for his brilliance, excellent character traits and geniality, dubbed the "Krakower Illui" at age 15 in recognition of his prodigious powers of Talmudic analysis. The world-renowned Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski was very fond of him and gave his sefer on Mesechet Zevachim a warm recommendation (unfortunately the manuscript was lost during the World War II). He received Semicha from the Marcheset, Rabbi Chanoch Henich Eigess.   In 1947, Rabbi Kreiswirth moved to the United States to serve as Rosh HaYeshiva at Bais Medrash l'Torah, where he quickly established a rapport with his students, many of whom would rise to prominence in the burgeoning Orthodox community. In 1953 he moved to Antwerp to and devoted the rest of his life to reestablish the Jewish community there.

Rabbi Yosef Leff

leff2Rabbi Leff was a talmid of R. Aharon Kotler in Kletzk and then in Lakewood. He was asked to join Beis HaMidrash L'Torah by R. Aharon Soloveichik in 1968.  He served as Rosh Yeshiva until his passing in 1997.  He was known as an "illui" and the author of the sefer אמרי יוסף.

Rabbi Yechezkel Lichtman

LICHTMANRabbi Yechezkel Lichtman was born in Brooklyn New York. In his early youth he learned at Yeshivas Chaim Berlin headed by Rav Hutner z"l. Even at that young age he influenced many of his peers to follow his path to learn in Yeshivot. Following high school, he became one of  the original American talmidim of Bais Medrash Govoha  of Lakewood, where he learned under his principle rebbe and mentor, Hagoan R' Aharon Kotler.  Following he years in Lakewood,  he taught and served as Rosh Yeshiva in various Yeshivos prior to coming to Bais HaMidrash L'Torah in 1978. Rav Lichtman was a master mechanech  who was able to transmit his deep insights & chidushim  to a variety of talmidim. At the same time he developed close life-long relationships with many of his Talmidim.  Rav Lichtman continued to teach & write Torah after returning to New York. He was Mechaber Sefer Ner Chodosh on Shas. He was niftar on 13 Adar 5767.

Rabbi Dovid Lipshitz

LipshitzRabbi Lipshitz was a talmid of the Yeshiva of Grodno and Slabodka.  His first position was as the rav of Suvalk, and he retained that title throughout his career.  Rav Lipshitz is well known throughout the Torah world as a great gaon. In 1942 Rabbi Lipshitz was accepted as a Rosh Yeshiva in Beis HaMidrash L’Torah. At that time there were already 400 boys learning in the Yeshiva. He left the Yeshiva in end of 1944 to become a rosh yeshiva in at Yeshivas Rabeinu Yitzchok Elchanan.

Rabbi Chaim Mednick

MednickRabbi Mednick was born in 1878 in Sirvintos, Lithuania.  In his youth he learned in Mir, , and in Slabodka, and was of the first talmidim of R. Isser Zalman Melzer.  He received smicha from R. Refael Shapiro, R Moshe Mordechai Epstein and from R. Kamai. In 1902 he was accepted as a Rav in Medvich near Lechovitz, and in 1909 he became the Rav of Pogust, Belurus.  Despite his youth, he was considered amongst the great rabbanom of Russia. Due to the Communist persecutions, he fled Russia settling in Chicago in 1925.  He was accepted as the Rav of Agudas Achim and later (1932) to Machzikei Hadas.  He was the bochein for Semicha in Bais HaMidrash L'Torah during the 1930's and 1940's. He was known for his great erudition and his humility.  He was niftar 6 Teves 5715 (1954).

Rabbi Elazar Muskin

MuskinRabbi Muskin learned in Slobodka under Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein and received Smicha from Rabbi Epstein as well as from Rabbi Chaim Soleveichik. He worked to provide for the poor of the city, and worked to coordinate issues concerning Kashrus in all of the state of Illinois. He helped establish Mizrachi in America together with Rav Meir Berlin. Rabbi Muskin was the well respected rav of Cong Beis Medrash Hagadol for more than 30 years and was a renowned Torah scholar.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Regensburg

REGENSBURGBorn in 1895 in Poland, he was a talmid of the Yeshiva of Slabodka and  he received Smicha (Yoreh Yoreh Yadin Yadin) from the Slabodka Rosh HaYeshiva, R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein and from the Lomzer Gaon, R. Yehuda Leib Gordon at the age of 20. In Chicago, he helped found the Misrad HaRabonim and began his long career at the Beis HaMidrash L'Torah, first as a Magid Shiur and, in 1949 as the Dean of Faculty. In 1959, he also became Rosh HaYeshiva and held both posts until his retirement in 1962. An active Posek, R. Regensberg was Av Bet Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. R. Regensberg passed away on March 28, 1977 in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Mordechai Rogow

ROGOWBiographical information to come. 

Rabbi Chaim Zvi Rubenstein

RubensteinRabbi Rubenstein (1872-1943) learned in Slonim and Volozhin by Rav Chaim Soloveichik. He was known as great talmid chacham and lamdon. He received smicha at the young age of 17 from Rav Chaim Soloveichik and Rav Shmuel Salant. In 1915 he established a yeshiva ktana in his home. This yeshiva eventually became our Beis HaMidrash L’Torah. Aside from his greatness in Torah he worked tirelessly on matters of the community. Rabbi Rubenstein is known as the original “Father of the Yeshiva”.

Rabbi Nachum Sachs

SachsRabbi Nachum Sachs was born in 1900 in Skudvill , Lithuania. He studied in Telz Yeshiva and in 1925 was ordained by Rabbi Joseph Leib Bloch. Afterwards he came to Chicago and in 1926 was engaged as an instructor of Talmud at Yeshiva Eitz Chaim. During this time, Rabbi Sachs also studied at the Lewis Institute . He first served as rabbi to Congregation Anshe Cobrin and in 1930 he became the rabbi of Conregation Bnei Yitzchak. R’ Nachum’s father was Rabbi Saul Sachs of Anshe Mozir. Father and son used to learn daily in the beis midrash of the Yeshiva. The sight of their learning together was described by Rabbi Menachem Tzvi Eichenstein as the ‘most beautiful thing.’ Rabbi Sachs was a quiet, humble person, not involved in the political realm and chose not to become involved in the complex kashrus scene. He continued to teach in the Yeshiva and in the Jewish Academy his entire life.  He passed away י"ד טבת תשכ"ו on his way to the Yeshiva in the arms of one of his talmidim.

Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik

SoloveichikRabbi Ahron Soloveichik (1917-2001) was the son of Hagaon Rav Moshe Soloveichik and the grandson of Rav Chaim Soloveichik.  Rav Ahron was a remarkable genius. He learned and taught utilizing the Brisker derech of analysis and he was also a baki in shas, poskim and Tanach.  After teaching in New York for tweny years, Rav Soloveichik came to the Yeshiva in 1966. Upon his arrival, many talmidim came from throughout the country to enroll in our yeshiva. His hasmada was incredible.  Even after suffering a debilitating stroke Rav Ahron would still learn day and night giving shiurim which could last for hours. In character, he was a humble, kind man, yet with an iron will and unquestionable integrity. After leaving our yeshiva, Rav Ahron founded Yeshivas Brisk of Chicago. He also traveled each week to New York to teach at Yeshivas Rabeinu Yitzchak Elchonon despite his major physical disabilities.

Rabbi Zelig Starr

StarrRabbi Starr was born in 1893 in Yanow, Poland.  He studied as a youth in Navardik, Telz, and Slobodka and received smicha from R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein and R. Shlomo Dovid Kahana at the age of 18.  He came to America in 1921 and was accepted immediately and a Rosh Yeshiva at the founding the Bais HaMidrash L'Torah, where he taught until 1984 teaching three generations of talmidim in Chicago.  He moved to Eretz Yisroel and became a Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Darchei Noam.  He was known for this sharp mind and his aphorisms. Perhaps his best known adage was "You must know what you know and you must know what you don't know".  His was niftar 4 Cheshvon 5750.

Rabbi Zvi Teller

TELLERRabbi Teller was born in Tel Aviv in 1951. He studied in the famed Ponevez Yeshiva and was a close talmid of Rav Shach and Rav Dovid Povarsky.  Rabbi Hershler invited him from his position in Seattle to become the menahel of the Fasman Yeshiva High School.  From there, he took the position of Rosh Yeshiva in the Beis Midrash. He was a great mevakesh ha'emes both in Torah and  Avodah.  He was known to work on his  daily blatt shiur for many hours not only to ensure that his chidushim  were true, but to  ensure that it would be presented in a manner that his talmidim would understand them clearly.  He was also known for his deep and thoughtful shmuesen which penetrated the hearts and minds of his talmidim.  Indeed, he was so close to his talmidim that many felt to him as to a father.  Despite his infirmity and agony due to his terminal illness, he taught almost to the last day of his life, 18 Kislev 5768. He is sorely missed by all the b'nei hayeshiva.

Rabbi Moshe Wernick

WernickRabbi Moshe Wernick (1909-1984) was born in Piatnicia, a village near Lomza, Poland.  In his youth he learned in Baronowitz under R. Elchanan Wasserman and R. Shlomo Heyman.  As a young adult, he learned in Mirrer.  During World War II the Mirrer Yeshiva fled to Shanghai where the talmidim learned in terrible deprivation with great hasmada. In Mirrer, he was a close and devoted talmid of the Mashgiach, Reb Yerucham Levovitz.  He was recognized for his great piety and devotion to tefillah, to the extent that he was chosen to be the ba'al tefillah for Ne'elah.  After the war, he joined his close colleague, R. Mendel Kaplan, and was appointed as the mashgiach of Bais HaMidrash L'Torah, a position he held for 23 years.  His sichos musar and tefillos inspired hundreds of talmidim.  In 1970 he left to Yerushalaim and was called upon to be the mashgiach of Yeshiva l' Mitzuyanim.  He was niftar in Yerushalaim Rosh Chodas Cheshvon 5745.

Rabbi Nissan Yablonsky

yablonskyRabbi Yablonsky (1876-1928) was the first Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash l' Torah. One of the outstanding talmidim of Slabodka, he was accepted as Rav of Slabodka in 1908 and later as Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka.  He was active in rescue of the Yeshiva in the aftermath of World War I.  He came to America in 1922 and was immediately recruited by Rabbi Rubenstein to be the Rosh HaYeshiva of Beis HaMidrash L'Torah.  He passed away suddenly on the 28th of Shevat 5688 at the age of 52.  Some of his shiurim were published posthumously by his talmidim as the sefer נצני ניסן.

Rabbi Chaim Zimmerman

ZimmermanRabbi Zimmerman was born in  Kanatop, Ukraine in 1915 and studied under a private tutor until his bar mitzva. He was known as a child prodigy ("illui") and as a teen-ager attended the Kaminetz Yeshiva headed by his uncle, the renowned Rabbi Baruch Ber Lebowitz. He left Russia at age 15 with his father and immigrated to the U.S., Subsequently, he taught a Talmud class at Yeshivas Rabeinu Yitzchok Elchanan. He received smicha from Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik in 1940. His first published work "Binyan Halacha" contains a letter of approbation from the Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel, Rabbi Yitzchak Halevi Herzog, attesting that the young author was "בקי בכולא בבלי וירושלמי ראשונים ואחרונים". His most important halachic work was אגן הסהר regarding the halachic international date line published in 1954.  He joined the Yeshiva in 1947 and served as Rosh Yeshiva of Bais HaMidrash L'Torah in Chicago until 1964. Following that, he continued giving shiurim privately in New York City and in Jerusalem. He emigrated to Israel in 1971. He was נפטר on 7 Adar 5755.

 

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